Springhead Echoes

for string quartet

Ian Stephens

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for string quartet

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Composer Ian Stephens
Year of Composition 2017
Duration ca.16'
Student Difficulty int-adv
Categories (all composers) , , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-is1se1


Springhead Echoes was commissioned in memory of Rosalind Richards née Gardiner (1938-2016) by her daughters. My connection with her is through Pigotts Music Camp, an inspirational place in the Chiltern Hills. I was among a group of musicians who in 1999 were invited to join her at her home in Springhead, Fontmell Magna, Dorset for chamber music. We played Schubert’s Octet, with Rosalind leading – she was a keen and able violinist – and me playing double bass. The wonderfully situated Springhead was the house in which she was born and with which she was linked for her entire life.

I had asked her daughters if there were any particular favourite pieces of Rosalind’s to which I could allude, and they came back with a substantial list, from which I chose one particular piece: Brahms’ Violin Sonata No.1 in G major, Opus 78. Each movement of the quartet incorporates an idea derived – by a variety of means – from the Brahms Sonata.

I wrote Springhead Echoes in 2017. In three contrasting movements, it lasts about 16 minutes.