Three Pieces for String Quartet
As most of the works by Igor Stravinsky, this three-movement work was arranged from a four-hands on one piano version, from which the final revised version of 1918 derives and differs in some respects. The manuscript (originally titled IStravinsky. Trois pièces pour quatuor à cordes – reduction pour piano à quatre mains par moi, IStr.) contained no movement titles for any of the three pieces. However, with the passing of time, Stravinsky rearranged these three movements for large orchestra, together with his Étude pour Pianola, and premiered the whole collection as Quatre études in 1928.
This collection of pieces takes approximately 7 minutes to perform. The movement list is as follows:
- (later entitled Danse in Quatre études)
- (later entitled Eccentrique in Quatre études)
- (later entitled Cantique in Quatre études)
The first movement consists on several cells superposed in different layers, all of them consisting of different and irregular lengths, which converge at the end of the movement. The second piece was inspired by one of the performances of Little Tich, an English music-hall clown, just like in Debussy's Général Lavine – eccentric, one of its Préludes. Finally, the third movement is a calm, fond piece, in which some listeners and musicians claim to discern references to the composer's Dies Irae.