The string quartets of Vagn Holmoe.
The introduction gives a global view of the Holmboe
quartet cycle and hints at its place in twentieth-century
A brief survey is then made of the unpublished
quartets (1926-44) written before the recognized First
Quartet. Quotations are made from the manuscripts of these
works; there is a discussion of the formative influences on
Holmboe through this period, especially from Stravinsky,
Bartok and Nielsen.
Subsequent chapters divide the published quartet
cycle into seven chronological groups. Each of Quartets
nos. 1-16 is analyzed in some detail; the discussion of no-1
and nos. 3-12 also includes reference to and quotation of
sketches and other manuscript material in the Royal Library,
Copenhagen. Most of these chapters have a preliminary
discussion on some issue relevant to the period, and which
refers to works in other genres: technical issues discussed
include the concept of metamorphosis, the motivic motto,
serialism and Holmboe's 'late style'. Analysis changes its
slant as Holmboe's style changes - analysis of the early
quartets is tonal and motivic; that of the middle quartets
is motivic tending towards pitch-class set analysis; that of
the later quartets returns to large-scale tonal functioning.
The last chapter gives a brief survey of Quartets
nos. 17-20, and ends with a comparison between the quartet
cycles of Holmboe and Shostakovich.