Chamber Music by Robert Helps

In praise of silence: Helps’ Nocturne for string quartet

Nocturne (1960) [for string quartet]

 — This muted, poetic work presents a nocturnal world where human presence seems to silently listen to environmental sounds and their strange lyricism. Unlike the tormented piano Nocturne or the unsettling Berceuse, much of the agitation in this night landscape resembles the chirping of crickets and croaking of frogs made famous in Béla Bartók’s “Out of Doors” Suite.
An exquisite study of delicate textures in the high registers of each instrument, Nocturne for string quartet forms the “slow” movement of the tripartite chamber music suite later assembled under the title Serenade (see Fantasy and Postlude).

Duration: 8 minutes

Read Program note for the Nocturne, by R. Helps