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Goldsmiths - University of London

String Quartet No. 4

Redgate, Roger. 2016. String Quartet No. 4. [Composition]

Item Type:

Creators: Redgate, Roger
Abstract or Description:

The work commissioned by the Kreutzer String Quartet with funds provided by the RVW Trust/Britten Pears Foundation. Part of the commission was to engage with the idea of Bagatelles, which formed an on-going project of the Kreutzer Quartet. I decided to work with Webern’s Six Bagatelles for String Quartet as source of material and so to work with the idea of using ‘found’ material in relation to my own compositional processes. I further wanted to explore the idea of fragmented formal structures in relation to perceptual continuity/function of material and how six movements might be formally related beyond the simple idea of contrast. What does it mean to write in movements today?

I analysed and deconstructed the Webern Bagatelles reducing them to the fundamental materials needed for my own compositional approach. These consisted of pitch, time signatures, number of bars, tempo markings, playing techniques and even performance directions. From these I generated a set complex intersecting structures, which combined Webern’s movements in various ways according to their structural properties, transforming some of the materials through my own compositional grids - the addition of quartertones, for example, derived from the initial basic pitch materials. The result was a mosaic-like formal structure of six movements, moving through and combining the various aspects of the Webern. This meant that the six movements of my quartet made a gradual transition through various materials losing some along the way, whilst gaining others according to the following plan: I-II-III | I-III-V | II-III-IV-V | II-IV-VI | IV-V-VI | I-II-III-IV-V-VI |

The plan above provides the formal structure for the six movements - I have now completed the first three. Each movement consists of interlocking fragments of material derived from the Webern movements represented by the Roman numerals. The six movements, therefore, have an overall structural narrative, which gradually moves through various materials, which are further transformed throughout this process in relation to each other. The final and longest movement brings together all of the materials. By design each movement is fragmentary with materials lasting maybe only one bar before intercutting with others.

Additional Information:

This is 6 movement work in progress, 3 movements of which have been performed by the Kreutzer String Quartet, at Wilton’s Music Hall, London on June 16th 2016. The final work will be published by United Music Publishing, Ltd.

Departments, Centres and Research Units: Music
Item ID: 24814
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2018 15:18
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2018 15:21


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