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Quartet Sant Petersburg

By Jordi Cervello

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String quartet
Composed by Jordi Cervello. Published by Editorial de Musica Boileau (BO.B.3664).

Item Number: BO.B.3664

Cuarteto San Petersburgo (The Saint Petersburg Quartet) was written between January and March 2011. It owes its name to the fact that Saint Petersburg has been a very significant city for me. I was invited there in 1988 to take part in a big contemporary music festival, but my uninterrupted bond with the city started on 2002, thanks to the negotiations of my friend and pupil Albert Barbeta. Since then, I have constantly travelled there in order to record a considerable part of my repertoire: seventeen pieces. In addition to the concerts we went to, I took the opportunity during my trips to visit the well-known conservatoire where so many great personalities from the world of music composition once taught, and the place that launched the most important violin school in the whole of Russia: the school of Leopoldo Auer. Spending a long time in Auer's classroom writing my concert for violin and orchestra was an unforgettable experience for me. His large portrait motivated me even further.

Cuarteto San Petersburgo evokes many of the most cherished and moving moments that I have had in this city. It is structured in four movements. The first one, Allegretto-Allegro, opens with an introduction that sets forth the two main themes, amid a soft and elastic atmosphere. The Allegro starts vigorously and in it we find changes in the tempo and moments of mystery, as well as certain seclusion, returning then to the emphatic theme where the counterpoint finds its place. The movement ends placidly.

The Scherzo-marcato that follows is marked by a persistent rhythm of triplets that carries on from beginning to end. The tempo does not change, but brief and decided themes are introduced, as well as passages of counterpoint. Brief and dissonant chords are heard throughout the movement, which ends vigorously.

The third movement, Ut, is a very special one. For a while already I had been playing with the idea of writing a movement that was to have the tonality C as a leitmotiv. This one is made up by two slow and static parts. In the first one, the first violin plays pizzicatti-glissandi. In the second, the first violin and particularly the violoncello settle on C while the other two instruments produce descending chromatic harmonies.

Finally, the Introduccion-Presto (the Introduction-Presto). It starts with some bucolic passages which remind us of the introduction to the first movement. A fast and energetic Presto suddenly erupts. A kind of moto perpetuo which alternates with two expressive passages and, towards the end, a viola and violoncello tremolo, all of great mystery and expectation, make way for a resounding finale marcato.

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