String Quartet no. 4
February 4, 2020

At the beginning February my fourth string quartet was performed in ┬áthe beautiful Teatro Verdi, Pisa by the Smith Quartet for whom it was commissioned. There is a gap of over 22 years between my third and fourth string quartets and it was a curious and ultimately enjoyable experience to come back to the form and to work with the Smith Quartet, for whom I had made a 15 minute quartet version of The Sinking of the Titanic some time ago, and who have played my work for many years. During the rehearsals in the weeks preceding the performance, we worked in great detail on the piece and I made several small changes, including even one in the final rehearsal in the afternoon before the performance. Everything worked. My piece was sandwiched between Webern’s Five Pieces and Shostakovich’s eighth quartet – good company – and the quartet did a lovely performance in front of a large audience in the classic Italian opera house (which had surprisingly very good acoustics). The quartet will now form part of the Smith’s repertoire and goes out into the world…

Gavin Bryars