Inevitable Rifts

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Inevitable Rifts
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Overview

Inevitable Rifts for string quintet, like Schubert’s Quintet in C, D.956, adds an extra cello to the string quartet. This undoubtedly makes for a richer sound, but what I wanted to explore was the tensions and differences created by forming an alliance between the viola and two cellos quite separate from the two violins, a rift heard at the very start with the lower instruments playing dark, pulsating chords, and the violins moving together in a slow broken cantilena. As the drama unfolds there are times when roles are reversed and also where new groupings are formed. The full quintet eventually coalesces in an extended central section based on the rocking figuration that accompanies a brief transitional dialogue for the two cellos. Inevitably, further rifts arise and the work ends with the two groups apart, although this time the violins try to emulate the pulsating chords, but even they part company at the very end.

Rift, of course, also means a chasm or valley, and the placing at the beginning of the violins in a higher register with widely spaced intervals, and the viola and cellos at the bottom of their register, was a deliberate evocation of this kind of landscape.

The work was commissioned by the Musiktage Mondsee Festival in Austria for Heinrich Schiff and the Rosamunde Quartet for its premiere performance on 4 September 2009.

John Casken

Specs

Product IDCOBS012973984
Composer/Artist/Author John Casken
Instrumentation String Quintet
Publisher Schott (Edition)
Media Set of Parts

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