Toshiro Mayuzumi

Prelude for String Quartet (1964)

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Performed by the LaSalle Quartet and composed in 1964, this piece introduces its basic musical material right at the beginning: mysterious and gently shifting single long tones are played non-vibrato, the middle strings play tremolos and high harmonics, and occasional koto-like pizzicati develop into fuller, almost humorous gestures that are echoed among the players. After several minutes the various materials are moved closer and closer together, are given shorter durations, and the tempo becomes very active. All the strings join in several mutual fast glissandi upwards, followed by a gradually de-tuned and very rhythmic strummed guitar effect. The Prelude for String Quartet ends as it began with several high sustained tones.