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|Work Title||Seasonal Impressions|
|Alternative. Title||String Quartet No.1|
|Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp.||1996(?)|
|Composer Time PeriodComp. Period||Modern|
|Instrumentation||2 violins, viola, cello|
Originally written in 1996, using Cubasis Audio. Some material taken from previously written original songs. Re-sequenced and re-scored in 1998 using NoteWorthy Composer, with minor rewrites in various places.
Written as a tribute to Franz Schubert.
Each movement in this Quartet represents one of the seasons, starting with summer and ending with spring. However, it is intended to be "program music" in only a general sense, as implied by its subtitle. However, at the risk of ruining your own impressions, here are some of the images I had when writing this piece.
First Movement: A Summer Sonnet
First theme: two sides of hot, humid weather; comfort/discomfort, etc. Second theme: holidays, carnival atmosphere, return home. Third theme (mazurka): socialising, relaxation, seque into minor variant suggesting wistfulness, lost opportunities. Segue into "rain" theme, gentle and warm summer rains, mild storms. Cadenza: warm winds, changing situations. Finale: reprise of first theme.
Second Movement: Autumn Spirits
Theme and variations: changing colours, shortening days. "Fugal storm": wind, rain, thunder and lightning. "Danse Macabre": Hallowe'en goblins taking themselves more seriously than anyone else does. Segue to "End of Storm" section. Leads into a short fanfare announcing the celebration of Thanksgiving. "Song of Thanks": a reverent expression of gratitude, resolving into a "Country Dance" (thanks for the idea, Ludwig vanB). Finale: reprise of "raindrops" theme.
Third Movement: Winter Chill
This gloomy little movement was based on a song, the lyrics to which were so depressing I have long since discarded them. However, the song form persists (verse, chorus, bridge, verse, chorus). So does its chilly sense of desperation.
Intro: a poignant reharmonisation of a well-known Christmas tune. "Verse" section (Scherzo): typical scherzo rhythm, but the joke isn't very funny. Darkness and chill of winter approaching. "Chorus" section (Andante): pain of loss, hope for the future. "Bridge" section: biting snowstorms, bitterness over perceived betrayal. Ends on a single icy pizzicato. Finale: riturnello.
Fourth Movement: Vernal Renewal
Lighthearted romp at the arrival of spring. First theme: Animals and nature awakening from winter hibernation. Second theme: a canon in Dorian mode launches into a jig-like dance theme; I had visions of Celtic characters breaking out of their winter cabins, fiddles in hand. (Human aspect of end of hibernation). Return to animals/nature theme, which grows uneasy, then falls quiet as the rains approach. Gentle, invigorating rain (pizzicato sequence). "Sonata Buffa" (The April Fool) in which I had images of a foolish group of amateurs hacking out a Mozart-esque theme while the Fool interferes. Things smooth out for a bit, then get progressively worse. When all falls apart, violist shoots the Fool with a cap gun. Attempted (and failed!) restart, all turn beseechingly to the cellist, who returns to the animals/nature theme. Riturnello. Finale: "May flowers."