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String Quartet No.1: The Awakening (Preview)

  • Text
  • Quartet
  • Hatzis
  • Hatzis
by Christos Hatzis | String Quartet and Digital Audio

culture of northern

culture of northern Canada, and this work was the first of a number of projects inspired by this culture. The emotional tone of this work was set by the news of an alarming increase in the suicide rate among Inuit youth during the winter of 1994, preceded by the constitutional turmoil two years earlier, when Canadians refused to make their country’s aboriginal people a constitutionally recognized society. The sound of the locomotive engines had been haunting me since my early childhood. My father was a railway engineer in Volos, my hometown in Greece, at a time when the train was still the primary means of intercity travel. Occasionally my father would take me aboard the locomotive engine of a miniature train for trips up Mount Pelion, the seat of the mythological Centaurs. The “dragon train”, as I used to call it, which was actually transformed into a dragon during carnival, left a strong impression on me. The locomotive’s hungry, fiery mouth, with my father constantly feeding it coal, and the loud sounds it produced, especially the limpid triple beat the of the wheels against the rails, were among the most awesome visual and acoustical images of my childhood. Eventually, all these sounds – the locomotives, the locomotive-like throat singing and the constant up-bow down-bow articulations of the strings – became a metaphor for primal breathing, Yin and Yang, the endless cycle of creation and destruction which determines the fate of individuals, nations and humanity as a whole. There are countless references and cross-references in this work that need not be mentioned, except one – the solo cello melody that follows the opening section of the piece. This melody and its ensuing development is a musical affirmation of my faith in the divine and its ability to bring balance, resolution and simplicity in the midst of all the overwhelming complexity we have brought upon ourselves and others. Performance notes Digital Audio This work contains a digital audio part, represented on the smaller staves in the score, and is provided via digital download that accompanies the performance set (PE117K). This work must not be performed without this audio component. The download contains the digital audio track for performance [Track 1] and is followed by a rehearsal version in which a click track is added [Track 2]. • mm.81-94 and mm.114-129: the digital audio part contains low synthesized string sounds PE117 – vi

with a slow attack (indicated in the score with the text synthesized strings*). Performers should play slightly ahead of the perceived beat to remain in time with the digital audio part. To ensure that the tempo (Œ = 60) remains consistent until m.129, it is suggested that the cellist starts a stopwatch (or metronome, if desired) at m.94. • To ensure that the quartet remains at a consistent tempo (Œ = 60) between mm.130-143, the second violinist is to start a stopwatch at m.130 and conduct the other performers from m.135 until a few measures before their part resumes at m.150. This should result in the performers’ synchronized arrival alongside the digital audio part at m.143. Alternatively, the digital audio could be played from a computer and, after m.135, cued to the start of m.143 so that it can be started as the quartet arrives at the first beat of the measure, removing the need for the quartet to play this passage in strict tempo. Quarter tone notation • µ – raise note quarter of a tone • B – lower note quarter of a tone • Whilst standard accidentals are placed in the usual manner, to apply throughout the entire measure in which they appear, quarter-tone accidentals are placed before every note to which they apply. General notes • All glissandi begin immediately and last for the entire notated duration. This applies in particular to glissandi occurring from mm.185-192. • Triangle noteheads indicate the highest finger position possible on the designated string. • An a piacere marking indicates that, while the tempo of the section remains unchanged, the player is to perform the stemless figure at a speed of their choice, repeating it as many times as is required to fill the specified number of measures. • In the interest of notational clarity, the triplet echo effect applied to the ricochet bow sample is not shown in the digital audio part. Only the initial downbeat of all ricochet bow sounds are notated. • mm.97-288: the slower-paced parts should be slightly softer than the faster-paced parts even when they are marked with similar dynamics. Therefore, the viola part should sound softest and the first violin part should sound strongest, with the second violin in between. PE117 – vii

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String Quartet Hatzis Christos Hatzis