Tzvi Avni

Summer Strings
string quartet no. 1

מק"ט: IMI 31
שנת כתיבה: 1962
משך היצירה: 10 דקות
מו"ל: מכון למוסיקה ישראלית
מילות מפתח:
Violin, Violin, Viola, Violoncello

Tzvi Avni’s Summer Strings, the first of the Israeli composer’s two string quartets by other names, is a busy, colorful, and robustly energetic work. Many of its elements—the propulsive motor rhythms, shifting, asymmetrical meters, terse motivic cells, and modal-sounding melodies—strongly suggest the influence of Bartók. Yet Avni’s music has its own distinctive character, a cosmopolitan blend of Middle European rigor and Mediterranean exuberance, seasoned with a healthy dash of Middle Eastern folk motives. Summer Strings, written in 1962, antedates this watershed in his musical development. Its sound world, although recognizably avant garde in its density and dissonance, still falls well within the mainstream of mid-20th century concert music. A resourceful tone painter, Avni employs such special string effects as mutes, harmonics, glissandos, tremolos, and sul ponticello technique (bowing above the fingerboard) to extend his palette of colors and textures. The titles of the four short movements—Destination, Argument, Variations Without Theme, and Interweaving—are more quizzical than informative. In any case, it seems fruitless to parse them for clues to extramusical meanings. If Summer Strings is “about” anything, it is about pure sound. Although it takes barely 10 minutes to perform, the abundance of musical ideas leaves the impression of a much more substantial work.