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I think it’s finally time for me to start sharing more of my non-guitar music and today I present to you a composition for a string quartet that I wrote at the end of 2021 entitled “Winds”.

It was my first attempt to compose for a string quartet, a very popular ensemble in classical music consisting of two violins, viola and cello and possessing a very distinctive timbre. 

To be completely honest, for a long time I wasn’t a huge fan of this timbre and didn’t really explore its repertoire until recently – I kind of forced myself to study it, because of its important role in the works of great composers. As I was listening to different string quartets online I came across a contemporary ensemble Danish String Quartet, particularly their album “Last Leaf” and it completely blew me away, making me fall in love with this medium and try my hand at arranging and composing for it.

“Winds” is different from my other works in a way that I specifically approached it from a more experimental angle. It’s fairly common for composers to find themselves in a bit of a rut – you learn to do certain things well, develop your style, but also if you are not actively pushing yourself forward you tend to stick to the same approaches which leads to cliched writing. So I began to work on this piece with a thought “OK, how about I push myself out of my comfort zone a bit and try something different, try something that I don’t usually do?”. This led me to experiment with counterpoint, a technique of combining multiple independent melodies that play at the same time, which always fascinated me, ever since I first listened to Bach’s “Brandenburg Concertos” and “The Art of Fugue”. At the same time I still wanted for the composition to be melodic and emotional, to paint a picture with music and also I wanted it to be, well, a string quartet, i.e. implement some elements of writing traditional for this medium, or at least my understanding and interpretation of them. 

In the end, I created this fun and maybe a bit strange piece of music. Sometimes ideas are simple and straightforward, sometimes they get complex and sometimes even a bit chaotic –  different melodies playing with each other like winds pulling in different directions but in the end coming together as a whole. Working on this composition was very enjoyable and it did teach me a few lessons, not only on specifics of composition related to writing for this medium but also on how to stimulate professional growth and push your boundaries by setting up creative challenges for yourself.