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String Quartet No 3, 'In Time'

for string quartet

Year:  2023   ·  Duration:  23m
Instrumentation:  2 violins, viola, cello

Year:  2023
Duration:  23m
Instrumentation  2 violins, viola, cello

Composer:   Anthony Ritchie

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Anthony Ritchie: String Qua...

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String Quartet No 3, 'In Time', was written for The Jade Quartet and is a meditation on the passing of time, exploring the temporal nature of our existence. At the same time, it celebrates the joy of creating and performing music in time with each other.

Two dance movements frame the work, and share similar thematic material. ‘First Dance’ is quirky and changeable, and features some jazzy harmonies, while ‘Last Dance’ has a clockwork character, relentlessly building patterns over an ostinato. ‘Heartbeat’ was inspired by the human pulse, interrupted on occasions by an ectopic beat (or arrhythmia). ‘Perpetual Motion’ imagines a pendulum swinging and provides an uneasy meditation on the briefness of our lives. ‘Funeral March’ was initially inspired by the images of the procession at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II (2022), and the various famous funeral marches by Beethoven, Chopin and others that were played. The idea of moving in time to music as a way of grieving or acknowledging the dead seems old-fashioned, but the composer experienced its power following the Christchurch massacre in 2019; a procession of university staff and students was arranged in honour of the dead, and the experience was extraordinarily strong, emotionally.

Commissioned note

Commissioned by The Jade String Quartet

Difficulty note

This work is in five movements and is designed for professional players.

Dedication note

Dedicated to Diana Gash

Contents note

Five movements:

  1. First Dance
  2. Heartbeat
  3. Perpetual Motion
  4. Funeral March
  5. Last Dance

Performance history