On February 1 Dudok Quartet will present a sparkling program in the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam with its culmination on the world premiere of the newest string quartet ‘What Remains’ by Joey Roukens. Next to Roukens there will be one of his favorite composers: Jean-Philippe Rameau whose pieces Roukens had freely revised for that occasion…
What Remains is a 25-minute string quartet by Joey Roukens, commissioned by the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam and written for the outstanding Dudok Quartet Amsterdam. It is Roukens’ String Quartet No. 4, his previous two string quartets having been written for the now disbanded Rubens Quartet, with which he had a long collaboration. What Remains is cast in two big movements: a fast and a slow movement. The first movement is a motoric post-minimalist essay that explores the interweaving of pulse-like patterns: it has a driving energy that gets more and more manic as the movement progresses. The second movement is generally slow and contemplative, with echoes of ‘Early Music’ polyphony, but it also contains a strange, darkly grooving, fast middle section leading up to a big climax.
The title refers to the compositional approach on the one hand: while writing the piece Roukens kept stripping down the melodic/motivic aspect, often reducing the music to only texture – pulsating triads overlapping, slowly morphing harmonies, a single note being obsessively repeated. On the other hand, the title has a poetic quality in tune with the character of the music, in which there is often a feeling of ‘something remaining’ from a previous state or time – remnants, ruins, memories and ’ghosts’ of the past (such as the Renaissance overtones in the second movement).
The Dudok Quartet increasingly looks beyond the Dutch borders, but feels very much at home in Roukens’ music: “It is irrelevant in the compositions of Joey Roukens to speak about classical or non-classical music. His music is just music that fits into the 21st century. “
What Remains at the Donemus catalogue