Upon opening the score or parts to the Britten String Quartet No. 1, one straight away notices the extremely high tessitura of the two violins and viola. It takes one’s breath away, especially as a performer, to be faced with that right off the bat – it takes a specific type of fine control to get the sound just right at these high pitch levels. The string is so short that the slightest miscalculation can make the sound break or squawk, and Britten asks for molto vibrato, which makes it hard to center the pitch as well. It really is a high wire act, but the effect is stunning and otherworldly when pulled off by a good quartet. It will be our final work on our Sept. 30th concert at the Community Music Center. We hope to see you there – get your tickets while they last!
Information available here.
Link to the Original
Opening page of Britten's First String Quartet, op. 25 - Boosey & Hawkes