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String quartet no. 1 : string quartet

by Stuart Greenbaum (1991)

Work Overview

String Quartet No.1 (Time's Arrow) was commissioned by the A.N.A. Friendly Society and premiered in November of 1991. The subtitle, Time's Arrow, is taken from a novel of the same name by Martin Amis and was added after the work had been completed. The novel represents the story of a life told backwards (from death to birth), a similarity I found in the structure of my quartet.

The work is in 4 short movements and based around two themes. The first movement opens with a theme that represents experience or memory. The movement concludes with a second theme (in natural harmonics) which represents innocence. This second theme is coincidentally quite similar to the nursery rhyme,Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

The inner movements further develop the first theme and represent the external journey and then the floating timelessness of emotional involvement. The final movement returns to the idea of the journey but in a rapid, compressed state - like a life flashing before one's eyes - culminating in a reprise of the second theme.

Work Details

Year: 1991

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello.

Duration: 13 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by A.N.A. Friendly Society.

First performance: by John Pokorny, John North, Rosia Choate, Joy Fletcher — 5 Nov 91. Wesley Church, Lonsdale St. Melbourne Members of the MSO

Revised July 2016

Performances of this work

4 Aug 2016: at Flinders Quartet "Time's Arrow" (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Flinders Quartet.

2 Aug 2016: at Flinders Quartet - Quartet on Collins #2 (Collins St Baptist Church). Featuring Flinders Quartet.

31 Jul 2016: at Flinders Quartet "Time's Arrow" (Montsalvat). Featuring Flinders Quartet.

5 Nov 91: Wesley Church, Lonsdale St. Melbourne Members of the MSO. Featuring John Pokorny, Joy Fletcher, John North, Rosia Choate.

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