NEW MUSIC TUESDAY | Composer Garth Knox' "Lockdown Blues"

"Lockdown Blues" is the third movement of the composition "Four into Twenty," commissioned and performed here by the Ragazze Quartet in a staged version of the piece


Garth Knox recently talked with The Violin Channel about his new work.

"I had actually started to write this piece with another idea in mind, but when lockdown began, I realized that I couldn't keep it out of my artistic intentions," Knox told The Violin Channel.

"I had been working on the special pizzicato technique you can see in the cello part, a ‘looping pizz’ which gives the impression of a perpetually rising slide while actually staying on or near the same note. I realized this could be the perfect sound to express the frustration of wanting to move but being completely stuck — and that it would make a great bass line for a Lockdown Blues!

"The excellent Ragazze Quartet in Amsterdam commissioned this piece from me. They had come across some of my 'Violin Spaces' and were interested in my approach to string techniques. As a group, they are very open to theatrical ideas and new approaches to staging, so we agreed there would be some spatial elements in the piece.

"The piece still hasn't had its public première, as it's been postponed four times already! So it's a real child of the lockdown. I had imagined a slightly staged setting for this part, with everyone gathered close together around the cello, kind of stuck together semi-willingly in a shared sense of frustrated boredom. The Ragazze and their video artist Bowie Verschuuren came up with these wonderful ideas of the line-drawn rooms and ariel shots, inspired by the film Dogville by Lars von Trier. And of course the touch of genius — the cat!

"I hope it will amuse people, (especially musicians!) but I hope also it will make them feel that many of their experiences during lockdown were actually shared experiences. Everyone was going through the same feelings, thoughts, and habits at the same time. So frustrating and isolating yes, but not lonely, somehow there was something bringing us together in spite of everything."