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Kenneson was finally determined to have Székely's quartet played and while Rolston had the better-known Takacs Quartet and annual competition entrants at his beck and call, the Banff musicians concluded; the 'Down-under' group should première the music.

In July 1999 Kenneson sent Székely's meticulous, handwritten manuscript to New Zealand. 'We noted that there were no metronome markings at all, only basic indications such as Allegro, Scherzo or Presto,' Helene Pohl recalls.

'However, the score was extraordinarily scrupulous in all other performance details; the bowings and even fingerings were worked out in his customary painstakingly as all his quartet music. So, we began rehearsing in August.

'When we finally met with Székely and glanced at his copy of the manuscript', Gjelsten adds, 'we were astonished to discover metronome indications on every tempo change, marked in pen throughout the work. He must have added them in the few months, after we'd already received our copy of the score.'

Kenneson explains; 'From the outset Székely had specific concerns about passages throughout the work; those he considered technically speculative. This was largely due to the demands of greatly sustained glissando effects and aleatorical rhythms. However, after coaching several rehearsals of the extremely well-prepared NZSQ, he dismissed his concerns for they played his work with great mastery.'

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Copyright © 1 March 2001 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand






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