Four Compositions is a virtuoso chamber concerto written in 1980 and commissioned by the Danish ensemble Musica Danica. Each of the four movements explores a specific kind of music.
The first movement (dedicated to Hans Abrahamsen), variations on a sharp and ragged unisono, accelerates and develops through literally all of the seven variations until it reaches a white-hot intensity that leads into the second movement.
The Scherzo (dedicated to Oliver Knussen) whirls nervously about the Ländler-like trio before making its exit in a more solidified Kehraus.
The third movement, Plain-Song (dedicated to myself), is a kind of self portrait, a quiet, hypnotic meditation and reflection on the sacred music of the Renaissance
The last movement, Sortie (dedicated to my former teacher, the Danish composer Ib Nørholm), is a glittering, fast-moving finale in two sections, separated by a piano cadenza.
- Poul Ruders