Martin Arnold


  • Martin Arnold
  • Year of composition: 1997
  • Duration: 17:02
  • Instrumentation: string quartet

“Vault” is the name of the long melody that makes up most of the material of Contact; Vault. It’s one of those polyvalent words that carry a few meanings that often seem quite opposed in character. In this case we have (at least) an enclosure and an action: a confining chamber for sealing something away and the act of propelling oneself over a barrier. I’m not putting these ideas in opposition. I like the idea of something confined and internal (that asks for careful, myopic attention) serving as a location from which all kinds of lines-of-flight can erupt and spill out ú delirious associations and speculations which are activated in the listener and bump around together through the experience of the piece. The “Contact” in the title can also suggest many possibilities but I was mostly thinking of it in reference to the way the player produces sound, the way they make contact with their instrument. This is a crucial part of this composition in that I’ve tried to re-invent the string quartet, to turn it into a strange collection of quiet, insidious, and hopefully wonderful, discrete instruments.

Martin Arnold talks about his pieces Aberrare (Casting), contact;vault, and Éistphéist; In English; Sunday, November 22, 2020