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By Misha V. Stefanuk

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Viola, String Quartet, Viola Quartett - Advanced - Digital Download
Composed by Misha V. Stefanuk. 21st Century, 20th Century, Contemporary Classical, Modern, Post-Modern. 24 pages. Published by Misha Stefanuk (S0.833839).

Item Number: S0.833839

Quartet for 4 violas.

Composer's Notes

4U was inspired by Ljova Zhurbin's composition called World on four strings. 4U is a four viola quartet, designed to be premiered by one viola player, overdubbing all the parts, however, it is equally at home played live by a viola quartet.

4U is a suite of five short movements, loosely following the sonata or suite multi-movement compositions. In many ways it follows the idea of Prokofiev’s classical symphony.

First movement starts with Vivaldi-like build up on a repeated chord, developing into irregular rhythmic ostinato to be reminded of in the last movement. Rhythmic play borrowed from Stravinsky leads into medium level polyphonic explosion ending in an upward glissando.

Second movement starts with dream like melody with continuing polyphonic development in two parts, while etheric chords are build in two other instruments. A short polyphonic episode leads to final appearance of the main theme, this time with two somewhat parallel voices playing the accompanied melody.

Third movement introduces fairly familiar waltz melody, not unlike Mahler or Ljova's father would write. Melody is played con sordino, while the counterpoint appears in sul ponticello, creating yet another surrealistic color. Middle section is played ordinary and reminisces of a menuet trio, even the number of voices excludes the first viola part.

Fourth movement perhaps requires even more explaining. First musical remark states Hanon-like, high school dropout music referring to mechanical and somewhat unmusical treatment. Then the third viola enters with imitating three large pipe organ inkling of a wedding march. The moment that gets a little out of hand, the fourth viola finally enters with the remark that reads espress-ivo, somewhat in between expressive and too much coffee. That musical character then causes the fourth viola player to first humm and then full voice sing his part, as he (or she ) gets more and more unreasonably excited, with three last glorious three-note chords on three open strings.

The build up of the final allegro  is similar to the first movement but with more development in the melody, which also plays around with some extra unexpected repeating, perhaps inspired by Haydn's musical humor. Development section involves two voice polyphonic fights with each voice played in parallel intervals by two violas, interrupted repeated passages and instrumental theater ostinatos. Coda is similar to the first movement, tying together the form, just slightly little more extended.

Misha V. Stefanuk, MMus
Dedicated and recorded by Ljova Zhurbin, violist, arranger and composer with works featured by City of London Sinfonia, The Louisville Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, a string quartet for Brooklyn Rider, a clarinet quintet for Art of Élan, and works for The Knights, Sybarite5 and A Far Cry, as well arrangements for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, tenor Javier Camarena, conductors Gustavo Dudamel and Alondra de la Parra, the Mexican songwriter Natalia Lafourcade, Argentine composer/guitarist Gustavo Santaolalla. Ljova frequently collaborates with choreographers Aszure Barton, Damian Woetzel, Christopher Wheeldon, Katarzyna Skarpetowska (with Parsons Dance).

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