The String Quartet No 3, written in 1985, is the only quartet which has an explicit programme, each movement clearly labelled. This is entirely due to its genesis as music for Paul Schrader’s film on the life of author, playwright and selfstyled, latter-day Samurai, Yukio Mishima. The film, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
, employs three distinct musical outfits: full orchestra for scenes portraying Mishima’s writings; string orchestra depicting Mishima’s unworldly last day as his own militia usurps one of Japan’s defence force headquarters; and the scenes for quartet which were shot in monochrome, composed for childhood flash-back scenes. As such, they often have a wistful, sometimes joyful, carefree feel. While this piece, like its predecessor has extramusical connections, Glass was aware from the outset that the string quartet sections might work well when freed from the score and given a life of their own, as a single, complete utterance, in the concert hall.
from notes by Signum Classics © 2007