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The piece is in three movements (fast-slow-fast) and is organized harmonically on four dominant chords in minor keys a minor third apart: E minor, G minor, B flat minor, C sharp minor, and then returning to E minor to form a cycle. The first movement goes through this harmonic cycle twice with a section about one minute long on each of the four dominant chords. The result is a kind of variation form.
Rhythmically the first movement has the second and third quartet playing interlocking chords while the first quartet plays longer melodies in canon between the first violin and viola against the second violin and cello.
The slow movement is more completely contrapuntal with a long slow melody in canon eventually in all 12 voices. It stays in E minor throughout.
The third movement resumes the original fast tempo and maintains the harmonic chord cycle, but modulates back and forth between keys more rapidly. The final section of the movement is in the initial key of E minor, and there the piece finally cadences.
Triple Quartet was commissioned for the Kronos Quartet with funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, David A and Evelyne T Lennette, Patricia Unterman and Tim Savinar, and Meet the Composer/Arts Endowment Commissioning Music/USA, which is made possible by generous support from the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, and the Catherine Filene Shouse Foundation.
from notes by Steve Reich © 2005
|Reich: Different Trains, Triple Quartet & Duet|
Signum Classics are proud to release the Smith Quartet's debut disc on Signum Records—'Different Trains'. The disc contains three of Steve Reich's most inspiring works: 'Triple Quartet' for three string quartets, Reich’s personal dedication to the ...» More