BEAT FURRER (b.1954): String Quartet No. 3.
Catalogue Number: 07M109
Description: Furrer's large (50-minute) single-span quartet is an ambitious experiment in attention and memory. Beginning in the utmost abstraction, with isolated clicks and noise gestures, little by little it accumulates more recognizably linear material. Little repeated gestures, too, are presented insistently enough to be lodged in memory; when they subsequently reappear they take on the role of themes (although in many cases they are less successions of notes than explorations of specific timbres produced by the instruments). Gradually, whispering pre-echoes of what begins to sound like melodic material start to be integrated into the complex texture; these are eventually revealed to be a quotation from a 16th-century chorale; the process of gradual emergence of this familiar idiom is what provides the piece with its narrative tension, and once it has started to emerge from the subtle scurryings and clicking that continue to surround it, it starts to consume the listener's attention, with every breathed phrase assuming præternatural significance, easily sustaining tension throughout the work's lengthy duration. KNM Berlin.