Mauricio Sotelo: Quasals vB–131

Mauricio Sotelo Quasals vB–131
Quasals vB–131

Mauricio Sotelo: Quasals vB–131

Year of composition:
Scored for:
for string quartet
Mauricio Sotelo
Instrumentation details:
1st violin
2nd violin
"Encàrrec de L'Auditori de Barcelona"
dem Cuarteto Casals gewidmet / para Vera, Abel, Jonathan y Arnau, con mi amistad y admiración
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Work introduction

One particularly notable element of Beethoven’s Op. 131, the most organic of his late string quartets, is the clear sense of purpose behind its formal structure. The choice of key signature for each of its seven movements reveals the coherent overall design of a work

in which a process of self-reflection is evident throughout. An especially striking feature is the use of the Neapolitan note (D natural) in the fugal answer of the opening movement – the Neapolitan key area then plays a significant role in the quartet’s structure as a whole, with the second movement cast in D major. It is this element of Beethoven’s formal strategy that I took as the basis for my own work and which governs its harmonic (and rhythmic) development. I also transform the material using what we might call a more Mediterranean palette, of almost flamenco-style iridescence and luminosity. In technical

terms, we begin with a six-part canon, then hear spectral harmonies derived from the addition of the frequencies of the Beethovenian Gestalt, via an intricate network of spiralling lines. All the material, including the rhythm, stems from processes derived from the Beethoven source, but in what we might call a compressed form.

The title of my work is a combination of ‘quasar’ (quasi-stellar object: an active galactic nucleus of very high luminosity) and ‘Casals’. The system of naming and numbering quasars inspired me to use my own ‘source of light’ (Ludwig van Beethoven’s

Op. 131) as a kind of catalogue number, hence the slightly tongue-in-cheek ‘Quasals vB–131’. It is, of course, dedicated with my deepest admiration to the extraordinary Cuarteto Casals in celebration of its twentieth anniversary.

Special prints

Quasals vB–131

Mauricio Sotelo: Quasals vB–131

study score
for string quartet , 10’30”

Quasals vB–131

Mauricio Sotelo: Quasals vB–131

set of parts
for string quartet , 10’30”

World première

Wigmore Hall, London (GB)
Cuarteto Casals

Other works

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