13 Chamber Music STRING QUARTET NO. 3

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The Bingham String Quartet

FOOLS BY HEAVENLY COMPULSION, my third STRING QUARTET, takes its titles and imagery from Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’.

The long central movement considers certain aspects of the three types of folly portrayed in the painful central scenes of the play: the innocent, child-like nonsense (which is not nonsense) of the Fool, the assumed devil-inspired madness of Poor Tom (Edgar’s disguise) and the pitiful loss of wits of the King himself, who learns thereby a truth beyond words.

These three reflections, set amidst the enforced passage of the storm on the heath, are disintegrations of the song “the Wind and the Rain”, a setting of which is heard early in the movement. ‘Storm’ is framed by two short movements about Cordelia. The first is concerned with her inability to play the court game of flattery. The last is about her death.

1 Nothing 5’09”
2 Storm 9’06”
3 Never 5’55”

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