Quatuor à Royaumont

by Johan Tallgren

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Johan Tallgren

Quatuor à Royaumont

Music Finland


Quatuor à Royaumont started as a little miniature written 1996 at Fondation Royamont's composition course Voix Nouvelles led by Brian Ferneyhough. The name of the piece reflects obviously this as well as the ensemble’s obvious relation to Messiaens well known quartet with the same instrumentation. For myself 'Quatuor' is a 'Symphonie classique' in my own output. Thus meaning a contemporary reflection of the idea of a classical sonata form in a modern non-tonal context. This explains the very classical coloristic playing techniques the ensemble limits itself to in the piece.

The refrain-like first section of the quartet is a presentation of the eleven harmonies that return later on in the piece in different transpositions as well as inversions, together creating the harmonical reservoar for the piece. The preceeding sections could then be formally described as a cycle of variations which I would name as a hommage to the non-existing 'Rauschenberg-variations' by "composer X" instead of some well known set of variations from the 19th century. This means in all its simplicity that when the "thematic material" returns it is not only varied but too that the music that is simultaneously imposed and commenting these variations is equally different and later varied altogether creating a cyclical labyrinthical structure. The picture is only a point of departure for the painting.

The final version of the piece was premiered by Avanti! at Ircam in Paris the 13th of March 2002.

© Johan Tallgren


bcl, vln, vlc, pno


Chamber Works


Fp: (first movement) Ensemble l'Iteneraire (Renaud Desbazeille, clarinets, Anne Mercier, violin, Florian Lauridon, cello, Fuminori Tanada, piano), cond. Daniel Kawka, Voix Nouvelles Festival, L'Abbaye de Royaumont (France), September 28, 1996. Fp (second version): Anthony Burr, clarinets, Mark Menzies, violin, Ron Robboy, cello, Andrew Infanti, piano, cond. Rand Steiger, San Diego (US), May 26, 1999. Fp (full version): Avanti!, Espace de Projection, Paris, March 15, 2002

Commisioned by / dedications

Dedicated to Maj-Britt Stierncreutz

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