String Quartet no. 2: Opus California

for string quartet

 

Composition Date: 1999

Duration: 12'

Information:

 

Commissioned by The Brodsky Quartet.

 

First performance:

Brodksy Quartet, Cabot Hall, Canary Wharf, London, 08 Mar 2000

 

Programme Note:

 

Opus California

 

(String Quartet no.2)

 

Sally Beamish

1999

 

Commissioned by The Brodsky Quartet.

First performance:

Brodksy Quartet, Cabot Hall, Canary Wharf, London, 08 Mar 2000

 

In response to a commission from the Brodsky Quartet, who were assembling a set of pieces inspired by Beethoven's Opus 18, I chose the first movement of number 4 in C minor, which was the first piece I ever played in a string quartet, at the age of fifteen. The rich, dark harmonies fascinated me, and it was the beginning of my realisation of what it means to play a stringed instrument – the world of chamber music opened up for me at that moment.

 

I took the first subject, first bridge passage, second subject and second bridge passage/coda respectively, as the material for four very simple movements.

I had just returned from the Cabrillo Festival, Santa Cruz, California, where I had heard a great deal of 20th-Century American music. I liked the directness and honesty of the musical language, and the immediate, warm response of Californian audiences. This quartet represents an `opening-up' of my own language, while offering a light-hearted angle both on the Beethoven, and on the American experience.

 

The four movements each take a fragment of the Beethoven and develop it, using aspects of jazz and contemporary American style. The first movement describes the types ‘strutting their stuff’ along the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, The second is a snapshot of the Golden Gate Bridge, from the air, in an early morning mist. Dreams before Lullabies is a gentle cradle song, and Natural Bridges is the name of a popular beach with spectacular rock formations.

 

 

  1. Boardwalk  

  2. Golden Gate

  3. Dreams before Lullabies  

  4. Natural Bridges

 

Sally Beamish

Buy/Hire from Norsk Musikforlag

 

Available Recordings:

 

Aurea Quartet: Sally Beamish - Opus California: Boardwalk (BBC Radio Scotland Live)

 

 

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