String Quartet No. 3 in C major, Op. 35

Full Score

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Audio rendering


This quartet was completed in 2020, upon the rediscovery of extensive sketches from 2005 that had been set aside and forgotten.

The work is an instance of the eternal trope of darkness-into-light, expressed in terms of tonal stability. The material of the first two movements is based more on fourths and minor seconds, of the last two on thirds and sixths.

The first movement begins with a pure C major scale, as innocent as a child on a slide, but there is a very muddy puddle at the bottom. The rest of the movement is spent regaining C major, just barely. The motive of a minor second followed by a fourth is pervasive throughout.

The second movement is a violent stomping dance, still based on the minor second/fourth motive.

The slow movement is the heart of the work. It begins the process of bringing the second/fourth motive back toward triadic harmony.

The finale is a fugal sonata, whose first theme is almost entirely diatonic, but the second theme group brings back the seconds and fourths again, gradually integrating them into tonal harmony.