By Lewis Spratlan | For String Quartet | 22′
Title: String Quartet No. 3
Composer: Lewis Spratlan
Year Composed: 2021
Instrumentation: String Quartet
Format: Score + 4 Parts
Page Size: Letter
Catalog Number: OM0448
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From the composer:
The first, second, and fourth movements of this quartet are, broadly speaking, neo-classical but, in each case, with a twist. The third theme of movement I, is extremely dissonant and rhythmically disjunct, by contrast with the movement’s first two themes. Movement II behaves like a traditional scherzo except that the middle section, the Trio, is atonal and mysterious, though it borrows from a short passage in movement I. The finale, movement IV, is a peppy rondo, but many of the frequent thematic restatements are in the wrong key and the movement is often interrupted with anomalous passages from earlier in the piece. Thus, the prevailing neo-classicism of these three movements is sometimes jarred and disrupted. But the foreign elements also provide bridges that bind the pieces of the piece together.
The language of movement III recalls the early 20th-century style often referred to as expressionism and thus lies outside the neo-classical norm altogether. All the same, it is the expressive heart of the quartet in its sorrowful lyricism and restless, churning rhythm. In retrospect, it “explains” many of the strange moments elsewhere in the piece, thus earning its place in the proceedings.