Lines of Communication

1987

For: String Quartet
Duration: 10 minutes

As the title suggests, Lines of Communication is concerned with the transformation of ideas (melodic lines and accompanying textures) from seemingly diverse origins to an eventual consensus. The piece is based on the proportions 5:4:3 from which are derived the formal shape, rhythms and tempi. The twelve chromatic pitches that make up an octave are also divided into a five, four and three note sets from which the melodic material is constructed.

The first section, allegretto, introduces each instrument as a soloist whilst transforming accompaniment figures from pizzicato 3 note cells into more sustained and expansive lines. The second section, allegro, is scherzo like in character progressing from a muted flautando idea to a frenetic final part with 'cello and violin 1 at the extremes of their ranges. The final adagio brings the melodic ideas behind the piece into focus. It is eventually heard in unison, the lines and fragments of earlier sections having been brought together in a final definitive statement.