Quartettsatz

Instrumentation: Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano
Movement: One (Andante calando — Poco a poco allegro — Allegro fuoco — Meno mosso — Moderato tranquillo — Andante — Allegro — Presto)
Year of composition: 2002
Duration: 7’30”

Programme Notes

This piece was composed by Dennis Wu shortly after he finished his postgraduate study. Perhaps freeing himself from the academic requirement of the degree, the piece is composed of vivid changes of atmosphere, subtle control of tempo and fluent development.

Dennis once described the relationship of Quartettsatz with “making a frog soup.” The frog was swimming so comfortably in a water bath that he was not alert with the rising heat until he was boiled. It is perhaps funny and ridiculous to compare this with music, but it accurately describes the progress of this piece. In this piece there is not a real recapitulation. Materials are continuously transformed in a subtle manner throughout the piece. When the audience gets aware with the changes, the music has already gone through sessions.

The piece starts with the three string instruments, playing a deep and sorrowful lament. When the piano part enters, the strings announced a short and alerting motive with pizzicato. The tempo gradually accelerates. Thrilling upward chromatic notes in the string part gradually intensify the music. When the tempo arrives at Allegro fuoco, the music is now powerful and overwhelming. Shortly, the opening theme seems to appear again in f minor with a different mood. The quiet yet anxious music brings the audience to a burst of violent downward figure in the piano part. The music is once again agitated, like motivated by a motor, and becomes more and more intense. A short transition in the string parts interrupts the progress, and brought it to Presto. The music is at its height when the four instruments announce its brutal and brilliant ending.

Quartettsatz was given the first performance in Shatin Town Hall in October 2002.

Program Notes by Li Cheong

 

Sample Pages of Scores

 

Première and Performance

Première: October 4, 2002. Sha Tin Town Hall, Hong Kong.
Performers: Janet Yau, violin. Ng Wah-hei, viola. Amy Cheung, cello. Shirley So, piano.

Performance: February 18, 2003. Lee Hysan Concert Hall, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Performers: Janet Yau, violin. Ng Wah-hei, viola. Amy Cheung, cello. Shirley So, piano.

 

Recording

This recording is recorded live at Lee Hysan Concert Hall, Chinese University of Hong Kong on February 18, 2003.

Janet Yau, violin
Ng Wah-hei, viola
Amy Cheung, cello
Shirley So, piano