String quintet (quintets: 2 violins, viola, 2 cellos)
by Carl Vine (2009)
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This work was created as a companion to Schubert's masterful
quintet of the same instrumentation. It is a mystery why the
two-cello quintet has yielded so few successful models compared
to its two-viola sibling - they seem equally balanced and
This work is 'pure' music that uses no external narrative, poetry or imagery, so each listener may imagine their own setting for the unfolding internal drama. It is cast in one continuous movement of four sections. The first moves at a fair pace, exploring different pairings of the instruments. It is in traditional ternary form with a slower middle section that introduces new instrumental textures that will be explored later in the work.
The second section is a slow movement, followed by what used to be called a Minuet - a faster movement with lighter contrasting material, though mostly in 7 rather than the usual 3 beats per bar. The last section is a Presto Finale, marked by a slower contrasting pool at its centre, and a reckless accelerando to the final bar.
String Quintet was commissioned for Musica Viva Australia by Julian Burnside AO QC, to be performed by the Jerusalem String Quartet and Zvi Plesser in the Musica Viva Australia 2009 National Concert Series. It was first performed by these musicians at the Perth Concert Hall, Western Australia, on the 5th of November 2009. The revised version was completed in June 2015.
Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, 2 cellos.
Duration: 18 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Julian Burnside
Resonate article: Jerusalem Quartet and Zvi Plesser by Mark Viggiani
Performances of this work
27 Nov 2015: at Melbourne String Ensemble 30th Anniversary Concert (Melbourne Recital Centre, Elisabeth Murdoch Hall). Featuring Melbourne String Ensemble.
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