String Quartet No.5


Anthony Gilbert

Logged-in user discounts applied
Log in to get discounts (now or at checkout)
Ask us about multi-copy choral discounts



Ask about this work
Composer Anthony Gilbert
Year of Composition 2009
Duration ca.20'
Categories (all composers) , ,
Catalogue ID ce-ag3sq5


Unlike its four predecessors, this is a wide-open work, pursuing its almost continuous, chanting course up hill and down dale, virtually uninterrupted during its single movement. Loose it may be, but not shapeless in its overall structure, whose broad rhythm pursues a natural, Fibonacci-driven swell, its principal high point arriving just three-fifths along with lesser peaks grouped about it in natural symmetry. There are three related tempi following the same symmetry, from moderately fast through medium to slow and back. All along, there are internal transforming dialogues between phrases of the song-line, and between these and external shapes which have the feel of, if not the sound of, birdsong or gusts of warm wind. The ‘nature’ element in this description is purely metaphorical – a plain way of outlining what is in fact a fairly elaborate, highly personal compositional process, involving a technical vocabulary developed over fifty years of composing. There are inner tensions and bursts of passion; Knole, after all, has a history of close emotional involvements.

Written between March and August 2009 and revised exactly 8 years later, the Quartet is dedicated to the composer’s daughter Celia, who celebrated her 50th birthday on the weekend of the Knole visit. The Heath String Quartet gave the work its first performance, in Manchester, January 2010.