String Quartet No.5

for two violins, viola and cello

Jeremy Pike

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for two violins, viola and cello

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Composer Jeremy Pike
Year of Composition 1984
Duration ca.22'
Instrumentation Viola, 2 Violins, Violoncello
Categories (all composers) , , , , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-jp2sq5


Sketched whilst I was living in the industrial region of southern Poland in 1979, this quartet reflects the desolation of the days preceding great political turmoil. It was completed in 1984. The first movement sets out several ideas which are explored more deeply in the second movement. These include the reiterated opening motive in the violins, the principal melodic idea first heard in the cello and a more forceful theme that diverges from a fortissimo half-diminished chord. In the second movement these themes are combined and developed as the music gradually builds in intensity towards a climax built on the outwardly expanding idea. The tonal ambiguity of the work’s opening is resolved in the tranquil closing section. The quartet received an honorary mention in the Carl Maria von Weber International Composers’ Competition in Dresden, 1985 and was premiered by the Bingham Quartet in 1988.

First performances:

Northern Sinfonia Ensemble, Mid Northumberland Arts Group Composers’ Competition 1985 (first movement only).

Bingham Quartet, Royal Academy of Music, London, 19 February 1988, promoted by the SPNM (first complete performance).