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Canons + Hoquets (CD) Track listing detail

Catch

Howard Skempton

  • Year of composition: 2001
  • Duration: 12:49
  • Instrumentation: string quartet
  • Commission: Smith Quartet with support from the PRSF and the RVW Trust

Catch has several meanings, one of which is musical and reflected in the canonic writing of much of this single-movement work. The opening idea recurs twice, a major third higher on each appearance, and is followed each time by a pair of episodes the second of which is a fugato.

Howard Skempton [reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press] [iv-07]


Catch was written for the Smith Quartet and first performed at The Warehouse (London, UK), in October 2001. The commission was supported with funds from the PRS Foundation for New Music (PRSF) and the RVW Trust.


Premiere

  • October 2001, Concert, The Warehouse, London (England, UK)

Tendrils

Howard Skempton

  • Year of composition: 2004
  • Duration: 19:57
  • Instrumentation: string quartet
  • Commission: BBC, HCMF

Tendrils is a continuous movement of undulating lines. Although the piece seems to unfold, the impulse was lyrical and experimental. The first task was to compose the process.

Howard Skempton [reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press] [iv-07]


Tendrils was composed for the Smith Quartet. It was commissioned jointly by the BBC and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (HCMF).

Hypsotony

Jo Kondo

  • Year of composition: 1989
  • Duration: 7:42
  • Instrumentation: string quartet
  • Commission: Almeida Festival

The rather pedantic title of this piece is of my coinage, made from the Greek words for height and tone, although I am not so sure whether such a neologism conveys the meaning of ’raising sounds’ as was my intention.

This short piece for string quartet is characterized by an intentional limitation in the use of its sound materials. The performers are instructed to play every sound in such a way that, after beginning each note at the stated pitch, they have immediately to start raising it gradually, until they reach a pitch one quarter-tone higher by the end of its notated duration. This pitch raising in each individual glissando should be an interval of a quarter-tone or a little more, but in any case less than a half a tone.


Hypsotony was written in 1989, under a commission from the Almeida Festival (London, UK) and premiered in 1989 by the Arditti Quartet in one of the festival concerts.


Premiere

Fern

Jo Kondo

  • Year of composition: 1990
  • Duration: 11:05
  • Instrumentation: string quartet

This piece consists of juxtapositions of many short sections. One of my purposes in this composition was to line-up these short sections (or, fragments) of different characteristics in order to create a ’static’ form, i.e., an overall form which does not involve any goal-oriented directionality.

[x-06]


Fern was written in 1990 and premiered the same year in a concert at the Tokyo Summer Festival by the English group, Balanescu Quartet.

Mr Bloomfield, His Spacing

Jo Kondo

  • Year of composition: 1973
  • Duration: 8:57
  • Instrumentation: string quartet

Since early seventies, I have been interested in writing music in such a way that the whole structure derives from a single melodic line. Mr. Bloomfield, His Spacing, for string quartet, is one of my earliest works that reflect this idea of composition. The first half of the piece is characterised by a heterophonic texture created by the four instruments playing in a unison rhythm, while the second half rests on a complex texture in which each part plays an independent line. Each player also has a cowbell, and strikes it at the end of every phrase in his/her part, so that the overall texture of the music is articulated by the cowbell punctuations.

[viii-07]


This work was written in 1973, and premiered the same year in Tokyo.

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