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This work for String Quartet consists of four short movements, the titles of which are taken from poems by Janet Frame: The Icicles, The Stones, Moss and The Birch Trees. Each one is a kind of natural miniature, exploring stillness and the simple beauty of quiet sounds, and underpinned by a sense of gentle unease. The Icicles is a fragile, intimate movement without development, tiny fragments of tune colouring the sparse soundscape. The Stones sets up an insistent, pulsing rhythm that hints at the sustained violence to come in Moss, a much denser, edgier beast, a breaking point before the calm. In the final movement, the action is brought back to a quiet nostalgia, recalling the delicate, frail harmonies of the opening. The work as a whole owes much to the aesthetics of John Cage’s String Quartet in Four Parts and to Janet Frame’s virtuosic portrayal of New Zealand landscape.
- The Icicles
- The Stones
- The Birch Trees
01 Jul 2008: Performed by Yid-Ee Goh (vln I), Sophie Bird (vln II), Emma Fetherston (vla), Charley Davenport (vc). (Conductor Michael Norris).
01 Sep 2008: Performed by MusicSpace Quartet at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Devonport, in Auckland
20 Sep 2009: Emerging Artists
23 May 2010: DSCH String Quartet at the Depot
27 Jun 2010: RNZ Concert broadcast Alex Taylor
Featuring: Radio New Zealand Concert