Jonathan Pitkin

PART-SONG for piano quintet (2005-6)

Duration: 21 mins
Click here to see the SCORE.

Although pieces with this instrumentation are usually known as ‘piano quintets’, Part-song is in fact essentially a duo, comprising a piano on the one hand, and a string quartet on the other. My starting-point for the piece was to look for ways of making it possible for the listener to hear the ensemble at once as a single, quasi-orchestral musical protagonist, and at the same time as two distinct voices, each with its own contribution to make to the musical texture. So although there are passages where the two rapidly pass ideas back and forth between them, there are others where, at least initially, they seem oblivious to one another. Where the music gets louder, thicker or faster the two parts tend to do so by different degrees and at slightly different times, so that when they reach a common destination the effect is (hopefully) all the more telling. The piece is in two movements, with the very gradual build-up of the first allowing the second to begin again in medias res.