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Poul Ruders : String Quartet no. 4

Publisher Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen
Works for 2-6 Players
Year Composed 2012
22 Minutes
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Full Score(s) WH31600
Set(s) of Parts WH31600A

Programme Note

Poul Ruders

It might be of interest for some to note, that a gap of only six months separates the writing of my second and third quartets (1979), but a 33 year interval stands between the third and the present piece, String Quartet No. 4.
Which is in five movements and is about nothing but itself. The first movement “Adagio - Presto alla breve - Adagio” is an overture of sorts, lifting the lid, as it were, on the odd bit of what happens later on in the other movements. A portal into:
The second movement “Vivo scherzando”, which is just that: a short (2 minutes only) fast and jocular piece leading up to the next movement: “Adagio sognante”, a slow and hushed dream-world, paving the way for the pièce de resistance of the entire quartet: “Presto alla breve”, a ferociously fast tour de force for the four players, who, with that one under their belts, can lean back a little (but only a little) and put the whole thing gently to bed in the fifth and final movement: a simple “Adagio”.

Off the record: my first string quartet (1972) has been withdrawn and is no more, a fact that renders the numbering of the subsequent quartets a matter of personal conviction…

Poul Ruders, November 2012


  • delightful from beginning to end
    Guy Dammann, The Guardian, 11/03/2013
  • it was a miracle of stylistic light-footedness
    Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 11/03/2013


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