for string quartet

Christopher Fox

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for string quartet

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Composer Christopher Fox
Year of Composition 2005-06
Duration ca.15'

Categories (all composers) , , , , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-cf1ott1


A few years ago the Smith Quartet added my clarinet quintet to their repertoire, giving a number of performances of the work with the clarinettist Roger Heaton. During rehearsals we discussed the possibility of a new work just for string quartet and 1-2-3 is the result. The overall shape and character of the piece came to me very quickly and, almost as quickly, a title became inextricably attached too. I found it impossible to hear the simple intervallic vocabulary of the opening (there are lots of octaves, fifths and thirds) without thinking of the phrase ‘reasons to be cheerful’ and, as anyone who is familiar with Ian Dury’s song of that name will know, the next line of that lyric is ‘123’, a reference in my piece to the tripartite division of the music.

1-2-3 was written for the Smith Quartet who commissioned it with funds from Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Arts Council England. The Smith Quartet gave the work its first performance on 26th November 2006 in St Pauls Hall, Huddersfield as part of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. 1-2-3 lasts about 15 minutes and is dedicated to the memory of Gyorgy Ligeti (although, as Ligeti himself would have noted, ‘Terry Riley ist auch dabei’).