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Boosey & Hawkes

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

Composer's Notes

My second string quartet is an abstract work, with no literary programme. However, the idea behind it is very personal and is connected with a memorable experience from my childhood.
When I was 7 or 8 years old, on holiday in the country, my favorite pastime was to put my ear to the wooden telegraph poles and listen to sounds produced by the wires vibrating In the wind. After a while I became convinced that I was listening to real music - which retrospectively I think was my first experience of the creative process, as for the first time I made use of my musical Imagination.

When I came to compose my second string quartet, I decided I would try to draw upon those childhood fantasies, allowing them to suggest to me both design and musical material.
The work is composed in one continuous movement, and is based on two cells only: a tetrad (4-note cell) and a triad (3-note cell) with all their reflections and transpositions. It is almost like a secret code, as If the message perhaps was written not with words, but with squares and triangles replacing ordinary letters. Although I have designed a framework with a most rigorous structure, my main intention was to compose a fantasy-poem, with real musical substance, and to convey to the listener some of the mysterious messages which I used to over-hear in my Imagination from the telegraph poles. The work starts exactly as I remember from my childhood: from total silence, through to a hardly audible chord (tetrad), gradually transformed into melodic lines, which weave throughout the work into various shades of ,poetical expression, returning finally to the first chord, which eventually dissolves into silence.

Andrzej Panufnik

Reproduction Rights
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer


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