Peter Dickinson – Quartet

Posted on May 4th, 2011 by

On the 19th June, the Kreutzer Quartet will be premiering the revised version of Peter Dickinson’s 1958 Quartet at Wilton’s Music Hall. Here is the composer’s note on this work.

String Quartet No. 1 (1958)
[first performance of the revised version]
After reading music at Cambridge, where he was Organ Scholar of Queens’
College, Peter Dickinson went to New York on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship
where he studied at the Juilliard School of Music and spent two further
years in the States.
In his first autumn he wrote this Quartet, which was played at Juilliard and
elsewhere, but a professional performance of some prominence came on 16
January 1961 when it was played at a Composers Forum Concert in New York.
Surprisingly the New York critics regarded the quartet as aggressively
modern. Even if there is a suggestion of an angry young man getting
Cambridge out of his system that reaction may be difficult to understand
The composer revised the work following the early performances. The only
major change was the adjustment to a three-movement work rather than four,
with the short scherzo incorporated into the first movement.
There was a British premiere of what must have been the original version in
Birmingham in the 1970s but in 2010 the composer put the revised score into
final form in consultation with Peter Sheppard-Skaerved, leader of the
Kreutzer Quartet who gave the first performance at the Wilton Music Hall,
London, on 19 June 2011.