Duration: 14 minutes
First performed by the Cat String Quartet, 5 August 1994, Harrogate International Festival
Revised version first performed by the Lindsay String Quartet, 5 October 1995, Manchester Composers Platform
Finnish premiere: Mikkeli City Orchestra String Quartet, 10.5.01, Mikkeli Chamber Music Hall, Mikkeli, Finland
Selected for inclusion in Manchester Composers Platform, October 1995
Reviews: The Times, 6.8.94; The Times, 9.10.95; Musical Opinion, Winter 1995
Listen to the String Quartet N°1 by Alan Charlton performed live by the Lindsay String Quartet:
This is a revised version of a work commissioned by the Cat String Quartet for the 1994 Harrogate International Festival. Built in three sections, it mainly exploits the relationship between the cello and the rest of the quartet. In the first section, the cello has a long solo line that is contrasted with the predominantly quaver-triplet figuration played by the rest of the quartet. In the second section, the nature of the opposition is changed, the music proceeding by juxtaposition of opposing material rather than by its superimposition. The final section is both a coda to the second section and a recapitulation of the first – both arguments are resolved simultaneously, and the original relationship of cello versus the rest is restored. This was the first of three pieces in which I used a technique of deriving material from vertically symmetrical chords, a technique which also features in ‘Quintetto’ and ‘Duo Concertant’.