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For String Quartet


Rudy Percival Composer

Quatuor Bozzini Performers

Premiered November 2019, Milton Court Concert Hall, London

'Highlands' was inspired by a visit that I made to Ireland and Scotland in the summer of 2019, with my family and our dog. It was the first time I had ever visited Scotland, and the first time in my living memory that I had visited Ireland. I was struck by the beauty of both nations, having never imagined that such impressive landscapes existed within my arm’s reach.

In my opinion, the string quartet is the ideal ensemble for a piece inspired by these nations; string instruments already have a strong association with folk music traditions in both, meaning I was able to employ playing techniques throughout the piece that made reference to this. The most notable of these would be my use of the folk song, Danny Boy as source material, and my interpretation of Gaelic Psalm singing in the final movement.

The piece is rather free flowing, with harmony developed using a series double-stopped natural harmonics dyads as a starting point. Throughout the first two movements, fragments of Danny Boy are framed in a number of ways, all relatively mediative in style. This is followed by a euphoric recitation of the majority of the folk song, performed as an imitation of a Gaelic Psalm, then finally a slow return to the opening material.

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