Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen
Adieu - String Quartet No. 2 (1986)
Works for 2-6 Players
The slow choral-like music which initiates Adieu was the result of an image or almost a dream that I had. Without being able to explain why, I imagined a procession of people, maybe medieval munks, wearing large gray mantles with Ku-Klux-Klan-like white cowls on their heads, something like a funeral procession.
The title Adieu is partly a comment on this funeral procession, but also used because the piece is split up by three slow-ascending glissandi, a kind of "farewell glissandi" which removes the intervening music. The first absorbing glissando is soft and removes both the slow funeral choral and the agitating figures in the first half of the piece. The second glissando is given only to the cello and crawls out from the elegiac melodies in the middle part. The third and "final" glissando is intense and agitating, and prepares the way for the end of the piece.
This end primarily deals with the relationship fast - slow. This relationship is turned topsy turvy: the music gets faster and faster until it is so fast that it suddenly becomes slow, so slow in fact that it is very quickly able to become extremely fast again.
Arditti String Quartet