String quartet no. 1

op. 19, 2004

For string quartet
Duration: 10 min.

Commissioned by Musica Nova, Tel Aviv
World premiere: 2004, Tel Aviv Museum, Israel. String quartet Musica Nova


Composer’s notes

Israel was commissioned by the Israeli ensemble Musica Nova in Tel Aviv and is dedicated to my Israeli friends.

My impressions during my visits to Israel as a composer and conductor inspired me to write this string quartet. The extreme life situations that I experienced there, the intensity of life, the emotional expression, playing music on the streets at a very high level and other experiences led me to compose seven short “stories” that describe these moments. They are to be performed one after the other without a break.

In the first part, the intensity of the sound and the pulse of the different bars become noticeable through chords that are played quasi without vibrato. After that, from bar 22 to bar 58, the piece becomes dynamic, breathless, strict until the intensity declines from bar 43 on. This transition gives space to the four musicians to “narrate” individually from bar 59 until bar 98. Now the energy changes into a softer, hopeful and more flexible sound, being transformed between bar 111 and bar 115 until eventually focusing on the melodic and nostalgic element. From bar 142 on, a serene atmosphere is created with chords, reflecting the beginning of the piece. Out of nowhere, the piece ends with an unexpected sound, as if with a punch line.

© Norbert Banik


Press reviews

“(…) das Streichquartett ‘Israel’ der griechischen Komponistin Konstantia Gourzi, die ebenfalls an der Hochschule in München lehrt, vermittelte mit seinen Anklängen an hebräische Melodien sowie dem Wechsel von dissonanten und harmonischen Passagen einen starken Eindruck von Innerlichkeit.”

Rheinische Post/RP Online, 29 April 2014


Audio sample




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