Four Quartets

1981

For: Four spacially separated string quartets
Duration: 3 minutes

This piece started life as an exercise in writing for spacially separated groups of instruments. The main difficulty in writing for groups that are separated by any more than a few feet is co-ordination. Standard music notation demands close proximity to fellow players and to the conductor in order to achieve precise timing and this is not possible when larger distances are involved. A different type of notation is necessary and this piece employs the type of graphic notation employed by Penderecki in his Threnody and other works of the 1960's. This notation allows the conductor to cue the main changes in the music but makes the individual performers responsible for the details.

Having decided on how to notate the music, I was then able to create a quadrophonic piece that revolves and echoes different textural ideas from quartet to quartet, spiralling sounds in both directions.