Cinq Episodes (Five Episodes)

for String Quartet

Composed April-May, 2005


Duration : ca. 18:00

I began, at the beginning of the Summer of 2004, to compose a string quartet which evolved very rapidly into another work. This became the "Sinfonietta for Strings" or "Acrostiche sur le nom de C.A.G.E."

Without a doubt, at that time, the idea to write a string quartet seemed to me to be unreasonable or even presumptuous. This first work became a work of intense counterpoint in five voices which are so independent that I am considering publishing each part as a work for solo instrument.

I must admit that, six months after this work, the thing which seemed unthinkable before now became a necessity. I did something that I rarely do when confronted with this sort of problem: I listened to a great many quartets of all periods and styles. It became clear to me as time passed that my desire to write a string quartet was especially due to an unfailing love which I have had since I was a lad for the Debussy Quartet and even more so, for that of Ravel, for I would be tempted to say that the Ravel would be enough for my total and absolute happiness. Thus, my desire for a string quartet was never really a a desire for a classical or romantic quartet, but profoundly a “modern” quartet.

Even so, I could not resolve myself to give these five movements the title of “Quartet”, for reasons unknown. It is true that the form does not try to exploit in any manner the traditional form of the quartet. This work is really five “episodes” which all have a connection between themselves but which have also an inpendence from each other, in the manner of a novel by Alexandre Dumas or Eugène Sue.

Once I had written what now corresponds to the Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5, I found that a transcription for strings of a piece which dates from five years ago (Tango Stretto for Saxophone Quartet) fit perfectly with the rest, even though this work was in a somewhat different style. I decided to place this movement in the middle. This extrapolation changes, of course, the character of the piece that surround it. I authorize the musicians to omit this third episode, which will permit this piece to change its general mood depending on if one plays the entire work or the truncated version. One should however keep the order of the episodes, as there is an almost literary logic in the progress of the movements.

Jean-Thierry BOISSEAU

Available from Musik Fabrik Music Publishing

Cinq Episodes for String Quartet/pour Quatuor à Cordes (2vln/vla/vlc) 29€95


Writings Recordings