Out of Time (2001)

For String Quartet   16 minutes

In a sense, this is a serenade for someone I never met.  Mrs Elizabeth Allsebrook asked me to commemorate her husband in a string quartet, and told me a great deal about him. Out of Time is not his musical portrait, but it was suggested by his irresistible, infectious energy, and by his departure.

The quartet is in six short movements: a driving moto perpetuo; a kind of nocturne in which the gentle pulsings are slightly out of time with each other, like sleepers in the same room; a stubborn dance (“Stomping”); and then three movements that run together: an innocuous ‘folk-song’ emerges out of movement, provokes a hurried attempt to escape, then allows itself quietly to be led away.

Elizabeth Allsebrook lived to hear the first performance of Out of Time but has since died.

Commissioned by the Summer Music Society of Dorset and Mrs Elizabeth Allsebrook in memory of Peter Allsebrook

First performance: 29th September 2001, Vanbrugh String Quartet, Minterne, Dorset.