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Five movements for nine solo strings : string ensemble

by Edward Primrose (2016)

Work Overview

Each movement is based upon a form of canon. It is a reworking of an earlier piece for String Quartet. The time signatures for each movement follow a reductive model - 14/4 (4+3+3+4), 13/8, 12/8, 11/4, 10/8 (9/8)

I. Simple canonic imitation that introduces a theme that re-occurs in each proceeding movement.

II. Violins provide a canon at the unison, while the lower strings furnish an accompanying canon in pizzicato.

III. An inverted canon between Violas and Violoncelli in two parts. The second part involves rhythmic diminution.

IV. Arguably the most challenging movement, this takes the form of an inverted palindrome. It starts low with the v'celli, imitated by the violas at the octave 2 bars later. It gradually increases intensity to a mid-point on the note A3, at which point the work reverses, gradually moving to a high register and finishing on high violins. The work also incorporates quarter tone tunings, used as chromatically melodic embellishments.

V. This fast moving work functions on the basis of a harmonic canon in 10/8. It moves to a slower 'bluesy' section in 9/8 before returning to the fast 10/8 tempo.

Work Details

Year: 2016

Instrumentation: 4 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, contrabass.

Duration: 15 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Advanced ensemble playing and quarter tones.

Contents note: I. Introduction (1’25”) -- II. At the unison (1’55”) -- III. Inversion (1’50”) -- IV. Palindrome (4’40”) -- IV. Harmonic canon (4’35”).

Dedication note: to Jo

The composer has noted the following influences on this work:
Bach, Schoenberg, Bartok.

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