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The opening Adagio is fugal. A calm, floating movement unfolds, introducing each of the instruments in turn. Two salient intervals are presented in this opening statement: a repeated, rocking minor-third figure and a descending perfect fourth. The Allegro begins mysteriously. The tempo is altered from a slow triple metre to an alla breve, and the music is pervaded by a softly insistent repeated-note pattern. Two crescendos are built, after which the music bursts forth into a massive, striding one-in-a-bar, forming the central part. After a passage of maximum intensity the Adagio returns in shortened form to act as a coda. The two original intervals (minor third and perfect fourth) are still clearly evident, though they now create different shapes as the piece drifts away to a peaceful conclusion.
from notes by Matthew Taylor © 1993