Alec Roth's new string quartet,
enjoyed by KEITH BRAMICH
Faced with the first performance of his new string quartet immediately following the Allegri Quartet's deliciously subtle rendering of Haydn's 'Rider' Quartet [Malvern Concert Club, 26 September 2013, Forum Theatre, Grange Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, UK], British composer Alec Roth (born 1948) elected to speak to the 400-strong audience, to try to put some space between Haydn and his own music. More in the manner of an after-dinner speech than a composer trying to explain his newly-created music to the public, Roth told us the story of his once having to submit programme notes for a concert in a hurry, before writing the music, and having later to apologise on stage for notes that turned out to have no connection to the piece performed. He maintains that this experience has taught him not to be too specific when writing about his compositions, maybe also not wanting to restrict listeners' imaginations. As a result, before hearing his String Quartet No 4, all we knew about it was that it has four movements, that it was commissioned by Malvern Concert Club for its 111th season (using a donation from The Kay Trust), and that the score contains those famous lines from the prologue of William Langland's The Vision of Piers Plowman, beginning '.....
Copyright © 27 September 2013