David Paterson: String Quartet No. 1


Commissioned by Australian String Quartet with the generous support of Michael Rowe and Bernard Ryan in celebration of the birthday of Patricia Davidson.

Performed and recorded live at Pee Wee’s at the Point, Darwin, Northern Territory, Larrakia Country in July 2022.

Australian String Quartet (2022)
Dale Barltrop – Violin I
Francesca Hiew – Violin II
Christopher Cartlidge – Viola
Michael Dahlenburg – Cello 

Composed by David Paterson
Produced, Mixed & Mastered by Jakub Gaudasinski 

Artwork – Jim Tsinganos Illustration
Art Direction – Cul-de-Sac Creative
Angelina Zucco – ASQ Chief Executive
Sophie Emery ASQ Operations Manager

Special thanks to Lily and Simon Matthews from Pee Wee’s at the Point for their friendship, support and warm hospitality, as well as David Paterson for his valued support of this release.

In loving memory of Trita Davidson.
A dear friend to all at the Australian String Quartet.


Whilst rummaging through copious sketches for material to use in this work, I came across a melodic line scrawled many years ago. From this seven-bar melody played twice by the first violin in the opening of the first movement, almost all the material for what became the First String Quartet is derived from the musical cells contained within this melody.

The notion of developing musical material from an opening statement over multiple movements has long been established, with Beethoven’s Symphony No.5, Op.67 being one of the most famous examples. In addition to creating unity within a work as a whole, this method provides for the audience a coherent journey with which to follow in context of a piece of absolute music. A quality which is integral to my experience as an audience member for any work.

David Paterson © 2021


As a former protégé of the late Richard Gill and an alumnus of the Royal College of Music, Australian National Academy of Music, Sydney and Elder Conservatoriums, David has become established as one of the next generation of critically acclaimed Australian composers with past commissions including: Introduction and Rondo for small orchestra (Sydney Symphony Orchestra Sinfonia) 2009, The Legend of Nintendo for String Quartet (Ensemble Urbane) 2012, Tasting Notes (Tarrawarra Estate Yarra Valley) 2014, Septet (Melbourne Ensemble for ABC Classics) 2020, Quartettsätze, Scherzo, and String Quartet No.1 (Australian String Quartet) 2016, 2020, and 2022 respectively. David continues to work extensively as a pianist, composer, researcher, and educator.

“Paterson’s new work proved a revelation – attractive tonal music that seems to spill off the page. . . Interesting use of dynamic contrasts, neat cross rhythms and strong melodies showed this work to be a cut above. . .”
Steve Moffatt (Limelight, 2022)

“. . . the second movement Adagio Tranquillo was an outstanding source of musical magic.”
Julie McErlain (Classic Melbourne, 2022)

“David… demonstrate[s] a firm command of technique…”
David Barmby (Artshub, 2019)

“David’s… contrasting movements [were] attractively coloured with rich harmonic depth.”
Maxim Boon (The Age, 2019)

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