Ross Edwards – String Quartet No. 4 Ridley Gold
Commissioned by Ronald and Therese Ridley in honour of their 50th wedding anniversary
Performed by the Australian String Quartet
Composed by Ross Edwards
More information: https://www.rossedwards.com/
Special thanks to Ross and Helen Edwards, and Ronald and Therese Ridley for their valued support of this release.
Completed in May 2019, my fourth quartet expresses my intuitive recognition of two of the most pressing universal needs of our time: appreciation of the benefits of human differences, and the re-balancing of our relationship with the natural environment. Opening with a response to morning birdsong, it flows genially in diverse directions, seeking common ground. A central episode sets part of the Magnificat Canticle – The Song of (Earth Mother) Mary – in counterpoint with phrases from an African folksong.
As I was about to begin the second movement, a lone gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand, saw fit to violate the sanctity of the mosque by murdering fifty one worshippers. Soon after, there was an outbreak of horrendous bombings in Sri Lanka and an attack on a synagogue near San Diego. These events inevitably affected the music, in which passages of stillness and contemplation contain references to the Islamic Call to Prayer (Adhan); a harmonized variant of the Christian chant Da Pacem Domine (Bring Peace, Lord), which had germinated my First Symphony (1991); and expressions of grief, relieved by life-affirming dance rhythms.
A brief meditation on the opening of the plainchant Ave Maris Stella, interpreted here as a salute to Venus, the morning star and a symbol of love, is framed by outbursts of joyful rhythmic energy in the spirit of Hasidic wedding dances, punctuated by exuberant shrieks of Australian parrots. This movement celebrates the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Therese and Ronald Ridley, who generously commissioned the quartet, and to whom it is dedicated. My Fourth Quartet was composed especially for the Australian String Quartet in celebration of our many years of fruitful collaboration.
One of Australia’s best known and most performed composers, Ross Edwards has created a distinctive sound world based on deep ecology and awareness of the need to reconnect music with elemental forces and restore its traditional association with ritual. His music, universal in that it is concerned with age-old mysteries surrounding humanity, is at the same time connected to its roots in Australia, whose cultural diversity it celebrates, and from whose natural environment it draws inspiration, especially birdsong and the mysterious patterns and drones of insects.
Ross Edwards has composed prolifically in most musical genres. Works for the concert hall sometimes require special lighting, movement, costume and visual accompaniment – notably his Fourth Symphony Star Chant, his oboe concerto Bird Spirit Dreaming and his saxophone concerto Full Moon Dances. His Dawn Mantras greeted the new millennium in a global telecast from the sails of the Sydney Opera House. Recently completed works include Frog and Star Cycle, a double concerto for saxophonist Amy Dickson, percussionist Colin Currie, and the Sydney Symphony; Zodiac for the Houston Ballet; Entwinings, for the Australian Chamber Orchestra; Dances of Life and Death for the Sydney Conservatorium Wind Symphony; a Piano Quartet for the Australia Piano Quartet; Lake Dreaming, for the Brown and Breen Piano Duo; De Spiritu Sancto, for The Song Company; and Singing the Love, for The Choir of King’s College Cambridge.