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19.12.2017 09:57

Flexible concepts. Miroslav Srnka‘s new string quartet

 In this work, Srnka analyses the traditional roles of the structure of the musicians’ parts. He calls it future family, a hint about the conception of the work: “Are the instruments in the string quartet just voices and the musicians just roles? Can the musicians become voices and the instruments take roles?” The première on 15 January is followed by further territorial premieres on 24/25 January in Brussels and at the String Quartet Festival Heidelberg.

Miroslav Srnka is interested in the convention of playing techniques in the string quartet, and wants to find new archetypes for these. It is about music-making as a game and the perception of time. 

Composing for string instruments, says Miroslav Srnka, forms a continuity in his output. The violin was the first instrument which he learned as a child. Music for strings is a continuous field of experimentation for him, one in which he explores complex structures. In his Fourth String Quartet Engrams, for example, he uses long, continuous flowing curves to create the surprising effect that clearly-defined objectives are lost from the listener’s memory. Through this, unspectacular moments suddenly become unexpectedly conspicuous, as if small leaps placed in the linear texture activate the memory, as if traces of memory – “engrams” – would be deposited in the brain as biophysical or biochemical alterations. Or Eighteen Agents for nineteen Strings, which allows ramified linear structures to be tracked by the listener almost like a crime thriller. 

Miroslav Srnka has again written his new String Quartet for the Quatuor Diotima; the quartet premieres the work at the “Biennale de Quatuors à cordes” in Paris, followed by further territorial premieres in Brussels and at the String Quartet Festival Heidelberg. In this work, Srnka analyses the traditional roles of the structure of the musicians’ parts. “Are the instruments in the string quartet just voices and the musicians just roles? Can the musicians become voices and the instruments take roles? Is the string quartet a biotope in itself, bringing predefined expectations and stereotypes with it to every new piece?” He is interested in the convention of playing techniques in the string quartet, and whether it is possible to find new archetypes for these ways of playing. It is about music-making as a game, and about the continuation of his involvement, frequently explored, with the perception of time around these new structures and patterns in today’s digital era.