"Brown Studies" - "Scattering" - Vanburgh String Quartet
My 'Brown Studies (String Quartet II)' were composed in 1997 to a commission from the Vanbrugh String Quartet, and
first performed by them at the Bantry Festival the following year. A ‘brown
study’ is normally a reverie or a mediation, but these four movements are by
no means entirely reflective. The title is also synaesthetic – the predominant
colour of the four stringed instruments being associated in my mind with their
timbre. I made the first sketches while still working on my opera ‘The Wall
of Cloud’ and incorporated some material from that work in the final movement,
significantly alienated from the 'affirmative' context of their original appearance.
The subtitles of the movements are 'Opening', 'Scattering', 'Centri-fugue', and 'Closing'. There are significant interludes between the second and third movements, the third and fourth movements, and between the fourth movement and…(i.e., a 'coda').