Why does a composer write a string quartet?
Why does he choose a specific key? What lies behind the decision to use certain forms or structures? Are there any hidden meanings – between notes, chords, cadences – which go beyond the strictly musical content? Can music be a Statement of anything else than music?
This CD suggests that the answer might be yes, that there is something beyond the strictly musical, that there are certain works whose aesthetic message trascends its sonic material, that writing music is, or should be, a Statement whose rhetorical content is forged among keys, motives, chords, beautiful shapes and achievements, albeit surpassing them all. And, most specifically, that string quartet music is – and has been since quartet exists as a genre –, a Statement in which composers reveal their craftmanship and inspiration: they commit themselves to take action and thus produce a sort of aesthetic manifesto.
We conceive of the works that we have chosen for this CD as references and paradigmatic examples of musical statements. By synchronising this four musical Statements together, as if a diachronic 4-part musical conversation was being held, perhaps we are trying to outline our own and intimate Statement about our idea of what a String Quartet is. Rather than a genre or an ensemble, a string quartet seems to claim to be – in these compositions and through all music history – the ideological labora-ory of Modernity’s musical aesthetics, where the audacious and undaunted experiments that put into conflict and conversation form and content, open a dialectics of magical spaces which propose a poetry both intimate and universal.
And in this Statement of love for string quartet as the art of challenge and shelter of the most nonconformist instrumental praxis, we humbly want to pay homage to the precious legacy that was handed to us from our dear teachers, who shared a concept of String Quartet that went beyond music, understanding it as an outstanding cultural phenomenon: laboratory of a diverse society, testimony of our European culture, challenge for our future ways.
A Statement of gratitude, but most importantly, one of commitment.
– Cibrán Sierra, Cuarteto Quiroga