|||String Quartet

String Quartet

Two violins, viola, and cello

Commissioned by South Mountain Concerts. Premiered Pittsfield, MA, September 16, 2004, by the Muir Quartet.

Composed: 2004
Duration: 18:00
Publisher: Pear Tree Press Music Publishing distributed by Subito Music
Catalog Number(s): 80500311


The final work [of the concert] was [Ronald] Perera’s “String Quartet,” written in 2004 but not heard in Northampton until this concert. The players—Joel Pitchon, violin; Romina Kostare, violin; Ronald Gorevic, viola, and Volcy Pelletier, cello—did justice to this challenging and satisfying work.

The second of its three movements was a set of “Variations on a Mandolin Tune,” written as an homage to Perera’s grandfather, who was a concert mandolinist. The movement was played with deep feeling, and was the high point of the concert.

Mark Moroford, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, MA 11/2013

Perera’s String Quartet was cast in three movements, ranging in character from an acerbic, angular opening through an unabashed sentimental second movement to a straightforward, sunny C major finale.

A stark, assertive opening fanfare built of tritones, sixths, and sevenths provided much of first movement’s impetus and language. The movement unfolded with a disarming mercurial abandon, hopping about in complex meters and teasing the ear with sudden dramatic swerves.

Perera’s program note indicated that the second movement, Variations on a Mandolin Tune, was “an homage to my grandfather, Gino L. Perera, an Italian musician and painter whose early career as a classical mandolinist took him to many American cities in the 1890’s.”

Perera drew this simple, charming G major theme through successive variations of increasing complexity, at first merely decorous and elegant, but gradually clouded by rhythmic and chordal complications until a clever fugue brought round its cheery restatement and gentle final cadence.

The finale was a galloping rondo with little of the rhythmic or harmonic quirkiness that spiced the opening.

Perera put a bird-like main theme through impressive paces. and introduced as an episode a chorale-like tune against arpeggiated chords reminiscent of the Pilgrim’s March from Harold in Italy.

The Republican, Springfield, MA 9/2004

String Quartet for Viola and Piano