pieces > string quartet
Silence, copyright © 1990 Fernando Montes.
Triptych, egg tempera on canvas; actual size 125 x 326 cm.
There are three main ideas addressed in String Quartet No.2 – ‘Images Of Silence’: firstly, solitude, stillness and light as depicted in Bolivian artist Fernando Montes’s painting Silence; secondly, the adaptation of drumming rudiments in the form of paradiddles; and thirdly, the open sounding chords from virtuoso guitarist Carl Verheyen’s song Georgia’s Reel. The influence of Silence is evident in the overall development of String Quartet No.2 from the use of silence in the first movement, to a change in harmonic momentum of the second movement, and finally to a darker, more hectic mood in the third movement. The rhythmic structures throughout the composition are derived from altered paradiddle patterns with accented beats that were extracted and rhythmically augmented, while the harmony is adapted from the chords of the verses and choruses of Georgia’s Reel. The first of three movements in String Quartet No.2 uses a repeating rhythmic figure that is made up of staccato quavers in contrast with a majority of rests. As the first movement progresses, the rests are replaced with a harmonised theme that leads into the following movement. Towards the end of the second movement the strict harmonic pattern changes into an ascending series of chords resulting in a euphoric representation of pure light. The final movement of String Quartet No.2 displays a shift from the brief feeling of elation into one of turmoil by the development of disjointed phrases with harsh articulation, and the composition concludes with the return to a unified state