Quadrivium

1986

For: Cl, Marimba, Vln, VCl
Duration: 12 minutes

The place where four roads meet - via, a way; in mediaeval education, the four branches of mathematics - arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music.
Chambers dictionary.

Quadrivium falls into two roughly equal parts that each contain two separate types of music. In the first part the marimba, accompanied by 'cello, plays a rhythmic pulsed music that alternates and overlaps with the clarinet, accompanied by the violin, playing more melodic and extrovert music. In the second part, the violin and 'cello play an extended duo in a relaxed, almost rhapsodic style that is interrupted, and eventually succeeded by an alternating and expanding series of chords. The work has an introductory theme that provides the material for the four subsequent types of music. This theme makes a second appearance at the work's central point. Quadrivium has been recorded by Gemini for release on the Guild Label (GMCD7379).

Reviews

In a harmonic idiom reminiscent of Henze, Quadrivium also sounded melifluous...the material expanded powerfully towards the end, when the contrapuntal lines - flecked by increasingly impulsive marimba patterns - were pulled into strong chordal progressions over an insistent ostinato.
Richard Morrison - The Times