Kreutzer Quartet at York University

Posted on December 5th, 2009 by


Neil Hedye at York 2008

Neil Heyde at York 2008

Kreutzer Quartet at

York University 


The Kreutzers are ‘Ensemble in Residence’ the University of York. On the 15th December they will be giving a concert and working with compositions students there.

One young composer from York, Benjamin Gait has usefully provided a theme, which will unite the lunchtime concert and the day of workshops.

The Kreutzers will play his Ist Quartet in the lunchtime concert. This is based on snippets from T S Eliot’s great Four Quartets. This cycle of poems has inspired countless musicians and composers. In the UK, for example, both Michael Tippett and Paul Patterson wrote pieces based on this work. (Tippett’s 4th Quartet, and Patterson’s At the still point of the turning world). 

The most apparent surface theme of the poems is Time. This is clearly fascinating to Gait, and was a very important concern for Witold Lutoslawski  and Krystof Penderecki, whose quartets feature in the Kreutzer’s concert. Lutos?awski’s Quartet eschews a full score, and plays with many notions of vertical and horizontal temporal alignments, whilst using largely traditional rhythmic notations. Penderecki’s 1st Quartet whilst largely graphic, uses the 1st violin as a visual clock (this is indicated in the score)-the leader does not give indications of pulse, but rather of time passing, much in the same way that Merce Cunningham ‘conducted’ for John Cage.

In 1953, Ingeborg Bachmann wrote:

Gazing into the mist, you see

Time, borrowed until revoked,

Come into view on the horizon.

(Der Gestundete Zeit, Ingeborg Bachmann)


15th December Jack Lyons Hall, Music Department, University of York

10am-5pm       Composition Workshop

1pm                 Concert-Penderecki-1st Quartet, Witold Lutos?awski-Quartet, Benjamin Gait-1st Quartet