String Quartet No. 1

“The First Quartet, in three movements, moves organically from solemn to invigorating ideas, with ample contrapuntal interplay to keep the narratives rich and layered.”

– Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone (Dec. 2013)

“… appealing and skillfully crafted … Beck writes in lush tonal harmonies and builds elaborate sonata structures around the same harmonic pillars that were in use in the 19th century[.] … But, of course, novelty isn’t the only thing music can provide, and the moody expressiveness of Beck’s writing is its own reward.”

– Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate)
(Oct. 24, 2013)

The original version of this composition was premiered 18 November 1982 at the Mannes College of Music in New York City by Marston Parker and Julie Metz (violins); Yasmine Tetenbaum (viola); and Chris Costanza (cello).

In 1987, I substantially revised this piece. I threw out the first movement (now destroyed). I then took the original third movement, recomposed certain passages, and determined it should now be the new first movement. Retaining the second movement as written, I finally composed a new, third movement. This revised first quartet was premiered 7 November 1987 on a concert of my music I produced in New York City at Carnegie Recital Hall (Weill). The premiere was given by the Pinehurst Chamber Ensemble, Moirsheen Kelly and Darryl Kubian (violins); Jonathan Hoxie (viola); and Tomás Ulrich (cello).

String Quartet No. 1 was recorded by the San Gabriel String Quartet in 2001 and appears on my 2013 CD String Quartets.

2 violins, viola, cello
Date completed:
1982; 1987
ca. 12:30

I. Grave; sub. Allegro vivace

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String Quartets
String Quartets

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