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Joe Cutler Slippery Music (2010)

For piano quartet

10 minutes

Slippery Music is the third piece I’ve written for the Schubert Ensemble following Jiggadybox for their Chamber Music 2000 scheme and Piano Quintet from 2002.


With Slippery Music, I wanted to write a piece that was unrelenting in energy, yet had a lightness of touch. Two types of material alternate in the work: the piece opens with music that is marked “obsessive and neurotic” before a second idea arrives which is marked “twitchy and playful”. The piece is really about a dialogue between these two characters, sometimes through juxtaposition and sometimes through transistion.


The slipperyness in the title refers perhaps to the regular appearances of glissandi in the strings, or could refer to the blues-like harmony that accompanies the second type of music. Or perhaps the material is simply not to be trusted?


It was a great pleasure to write this piece for the Schubert Ensemble, as I know their playing well and could imagine each member of the group playing each instrumental part.

© Joe Cutler


Slippery Music was written in spring 2010 and commissioned by the Schubert Ensemble with funds from the Schubert Ensemble Trust and premiered on 6th July 2010 at the Cheltenham Festival.

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