Quodlibet for String Quartet
First performance: 1.3.2013 at the Holywell Music Room.
Historically speaking, the quodlibet (Latin: what you please) was something of a novelty piece - a technical exercise, to illustrate one’s virtuosity, or a humorous treatment of popular tunes. However, this historical quodlibet is not the quodlibet of the 21st Century; Quodlibet is an attempt to interface not only with historical compositional practises, but also to comment on them. The title of this work is not a reference to the historical form described above, but is a reference to one of the figures of Western Art music who is virtually an emblem of it: J.S Bach. The materials which form the piece are derived from BWV 988 (aria, var. 3), and their subsequent treatment attempts to both illustrate the autonomous qualities of the material, while making reference to compositional orthodoxies (canon, repeat, recapitulation, quotation, et alia). A meditation on the idea of Western Art music, and on J.S Bach himself.