String Quartet No. 3 has had somewhat of a long genesis, with the first sketches dating back to April of 2004. The work that you will hear tonight has gone through many and varied incarnations over the intervening four and a half years to reach it’s current four-movement form. Most of the material from the original sketches has found its way into the 3rd movement. The overall structure of the piece, in broad general terms, is that of two outer fast movements and two inner slow ones. The second movement is fugal in nature and in the third a very simple canonic idea frames a group of lyrical and textural episodes. The first movement focuses on the development two contrasting ideas stated in the opening section. The final movement is somewhat obliquely influenced by Schumann’s quartets, which I was listening to a great deal while composing this work, and more directly by Shostakovich. I would like to thank the Manitoba Arts Council for their financial support during the composition of this work.
The Molinari Quartet gave the world premiere of String Quartet No. 3 on January 23, 2009, in la Chapelle historique de bon Pasteur in Montreal.
Matthews, M: Quartets 2+3; Miniatures
Michael Matthews: Quatours à cordes
String Quartets of Michael Matthews