String Quartet No.2

for two violins, viola and cello

Anthony Payne

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for two violins, viola and cello

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Composer Anthony Payne
Year of Composition 2010
Duration ca.17'
Categories (all composers) , ,
Catalogue ID ce-ap1sq2


Thirty-two years after composing his First String Quartet (for the Chilingirian Quartet), Payne returned to the genre at the invitation of this evening’s performers. In common with many of his pieces, it is written in a single movement. The composer admits it is quite difficult to write about the piece: there is no poetic aura as such, nor an autobiographical angle to cite. Instead, the work is simply ‘pure structure’. This was the inspiration, hence the ‘hell for leather’ opening – the com­poser’s words again – in which each instrument is given a bow in the form of a long musical sentence. This material is developed and varied at some length interrupted by brief allusions to slow music which may be considered to have been playing out of our leaving on some other plane. This music then comes to the fore and yields a proper slow section which balances the musical ar­gument. If, at this point, a ternary form might be expected to unfold (that is, for the re­turn of the ‘A’ section to complete an A-8-A model), then the extended coda that actu­ally follows is its substitute. In any case, its aesthetic is intended to be quite different. As Payne describes: ’emotionally, the ending evaporates into space.’