This quartet – with a duration of approximately 20 minutes – was composed in 1979-80. I was inspired by five quotations from Samuel Beckett’s novel Malone Dies- hence the fragmentary. The quotations are as follows:
1. These forms are constantly, new in which the unchangeable is relieved to be without form.
2. There were things that hardly existed at the edge of the stillness and the night and which soon ceased.
3. And now once more he suddenly wanders the earth; indifferently he walks from darkness into the light and from light into the darkness.
4. He said to himself: I must be happy – it is not as funny as I imagined.
5. Each tree had its own way of screaming; in calm weather it had its own mumbling.
We are dealing with five movements that are thoroughly constructed. In short the individual movements are related to the quotations in the following way:
1. In a manner of speaking it goes in one breath. The unchangeable is the minor and major second that pervades the whole movement, which unfolds in lengthy crescendo in the tremolo of the 1st and 2nd violin, leaving the movement to gradually ”vaporize”.
2. Is in piano throughout the movement. The frequent use of glissandi creates a dim and dark night atmosphere and blurs the intervals. The form is strictly symmetrical around asymmetrical axis in the middle of the movement.
3. Emphasizes the wandering aspect by means of frequent changes in register as well as the mechanical, as the individual mosaics are being mercilessly chopped into contrasting fractures.
4. Is a kind of diabolic scherzo where a tonal motif is contrasted with fragments of the other movements in diminishing bits.
5. Consists of four sections and an ending. Starts from the screaming (ff molto expressivo) and the mumbling (pp pizzicato), but always in such a way that the instruments are constantly shifted with each other. Once more the minor and the major second is prominent.