String Quartet #4: Inspirare

Instrumentation string quartet

Timing 16’15”

Composed 2011

Commissioned by Jennifer Taylor and Music TORONTO for the Tokyo String Quartet

World Premiere September 15, 2011, Walter Hall, University of Toronto Faculty of Music, Toronto, Ontario. Tokyo String Quartet

Programme Notes

The Latin inspirare means “to breathe into” and it is breath that has inspired this single-movement work for string quartet. A smooth relaxed breath, a quick breath, a soft gentle breath, a heavy sigh, a whispering breath, a held breath, a ragged breath, a determined breath, even the physical expansion and contraction of breathing–all have found expression in this piece.

The three major ensemble sections are framed by four extended solos, each with a different character and rooted in the pitch of a different open string. Beginning with the first violin, proceeding across the ensemble through second violin and violoncello, and closing with the viola, the spotlight is shone in turn on each member of the quartet, while the ensemble sections bring all four together in varied combinations.

String Quartet #4: Inspirare was commissioned by Jennifer Taylor and Music TORONTO for the Tokyo String Quartet.

PDF score excerpt

Inspirare excerpt

Audio excerpts

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