In the Shadows of Song: Birtwistle’s Nine Movements for String Quartet

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Abstract

Birtwistle’s Nine Movements for String Quartet have a complicated compositional history. They emerged, not as a single incorporated work, but piecemeal over a period of five years, in response to various different commissions.1 Their identity as a cycle has additionally been blurred by their eventual combination with Birtwistle’s settings of the poetry of Paul Celan, under the collective title Pulse Shadows. It was in this form that the quartet movements received their first complete performance in April 1996. The Celan settings themselves emerged in a similarly protracted manner. Figure 4.1 summarizes the complex evolution of both cycles.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAspects of British Music of the 1990s
EditorsPeter O'Hagan
PublisherAshgate Publishing Ltd.
Chapter4
Pages47-62
Number of pages16
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781351575201, 9781315096803
ISBN (Print)0754630412, 9780754630418, 9781138258419
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes

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