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Proclamation, canons and dances

for string quartet

Year:  2020   ·  Duration:  12m

Year:  2020
Duration:  12m

Peter Adams

Composer:   Peter Adams


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Anyone writing for string quartet is aware of the overarching influence of Franz Joseph Haydn on the medium, and this work is, in many ways, a modern recontextualization of a Haydn quartet. It starts and ends tonally – in the key of C major – and, like Haydn’s practice, it has passages of counterpoint and dance material. This one-movement work has elements of the traditional four movement work embedded within it, with sonata, scherzo and slow movement elements all occurring.

The opening Proclamation presents the main material in gentle clusters and canons, before the ensuing Toccata picks up energy and presents two main subjects – the second with swung syncopation. Development is by way of two fleeting Dance Macabre sections which flank a return of the Proclamation (now as solo cadenzas) along with a brief slow section.

The final Proclamation and Revelation is a triumphant resolution over C pedal notes with a recurring rhythmic ostinato.