String Quartet (to Alberto Caeiro)


currently under revision (May 2015)

string quartet


f.p. Quatuor Bozzini, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, 20th November 2011

Programme note
I wanted to write a piece consisting only of informal assemblages of utterly simple (transparent?) musical elements and patterns – to turn music towards an imagined state of nature, or grace perhaps. A kind of sonic classicism, sound sculpted into the most basic geometric figures. There are more than 100 of these figures, grouped using chance into vitrines of similar length (though there are some doubles and two triples). Alberto Caeiro, one of the writer Fernando Pessoa’s heteronyms, claimed himself to be ‘the only poet of Nature’, for whom ‘What matters is to know how to see, / To know how to see without thinking’. A typical example:

Lightly, lightly, very lightly
A very light wind passes,
And it goes away just as lightly,
And I don’t know what I’m thinking,
Nor do I wish to know.

(translated by Richard Zenith)