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String Quartet No 3

for string quartet

Year:  2010   ·  Duration:  13m
Instrumentation:  for violin 1, violin 2, viola and cello

Year:  2010
Duration:  13m
Instrumentation  for violin 1, violin 2, vio...

John Rimmer

Composer:   John Rimmer


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String Quartet No 3 is a three movement work, and was commissioned by the Holborow Family for the 70th birthday of Les Holborow, a long time chairman of the New Zealand String Quartet Trust.

The first movement, entitled Patterns in the Sand, responds to the deep impression made by natural forces: wind, tides, and rain and their effect on large sand estuaries. I look at one such estuary at Tapu Bay where I live. From day to day the patterns in the sand look similar but on close observance they show continual change.

In musical terms these patterns are heard in the gradual changing repeated melodic fragments which multiply as the movement proceeds and transform into a swirling super pattern. Throughout the piece tiny references to a well-known celebratory song are heard mostly as plucked cello notes.

The second movement, Eternal Springs, suggests the swirl of life-giving waters exemplified by the Riwaka Resurgence as it emerges from the myriad of water channels in the Takaka Hill.

The third movement, Visionary, is a meditative piece reflecting on the forward thinking of dedicatee Les Holborow, and his influence as a Professor of philosophy and a former Vice-Chancellor of the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

String Quartet No 3 was composed in 2010. The first movement Patterns in the Sand was first performed by the New Zealand String Quartet at the Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson in February 2011.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by the Holborow Family for Les Holborow's 70 the birthday 29 january 2011

Dedication note

Dedicated to Les Holborow

Contents note

1. Patterns in the Sand
2. Eternal Springs
3. Visionary

Performance history

Performed by the New Zealand String Quartet as part of the Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson, in 2011