Octet : for strings
by Harry Sdraulig (2018)
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Though cast in a single continuous movement, the Octet contains several clearly identifiable sections. At the outset, a sinewy progression of block chords is heard which becomes the motto theme of the whole work. From this, an agitated viola solo appears as the atmosphere becomes increasingly foreboding. Before long, the music breaks out into an inferno of unrelenting energy and drive, shifting with agitation between differing solo and ensemble textures. After a considerable climax, ideas begin to fragment - the tempo slows to a mood recalling the opening and, after a reflective return of the viola solo, the music winds down to silence.
From this emerges a long oasis of calm and tonal purity. Lyrical solo lines interweave with transparent harmonies although there are moments of shadow too. After a state of complete tranquillity is reached, scattered pizzicati herald a return of the earlier frenzy as the piece tumbles towards its cataclysmic finale.
Instrumentation: 4 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos.
Duration: 16 min.
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