String Quartet No. 5 "Gregorian Funk"

Andrew Haveron and Romano Crivici, violins,

Robert Harris, viola Adrian Wallis, cello

ISMN: 979-0-720090-44-3 -String Quartet No. 5 (Gregorian Funk)
Recorded with funding from the Australia Council for the Arts (2016)
Available on the Ebb & Flow album

Review: “… first it seems unchanging, repetitive, but as shapes and colours – or, in the case of Crivici's music, sounds and timbres – roll by, you tune in to the detail, gradually hearing more and more. A squeak here, a huff there, a quick glissando: sparks of colour in a fascinating sonic landscape...

 

Crivici operates simultaneously from within and without traditions, moving from intricate counterpoint to free-form improvisations. Of the three works his Gregorian Funk, stands out as a real exploration, playful and dangerous"

 

Reviewed in Sydney Morning Herald, Harriet Cunningham, 2018

“There is a whole world of music that defies the neat categories of marketing departments and record stores. The many artists who dare to fall between the cracks, -who cannot be accurately labelled jazz, classical, rock …and so on, –run the risk of being ignored or even ostracised by an industry that doesn’t care for deviants.

 

So it is that an ensemble like Elektra can fall between the shop shelves, radio programs, critics and even between venues. …. This quartet, under the musical direction of Romano Crivici, dares to be different in many ways. It uses amplification and electronics, it encompasses improvisation from within the ensemble and from guests, and it predominantly –on this night entirely- plays the compositions of Crivici.

The longest piece presented was Gregorian Funk, which began with a highly-charged introduction from cellist Marcus Hartstein, leading to a genuine sense of groove as the ensemble strutted its way through Crivici’s funky riffs.”

John Shand -Sydney Morning Herald, 18th June, 1997

This is a video of a live performance at Venue 505, Surry Hills in 2015 - for which Elektra won the 2015 Sydney Fringe Festival 'Genre Excellence Award" Best Musical Performance

Notes and reflections (taken from entries to the foreword)

 

Postscript The now published edition is a revision of the earlier version we performed at Venue 505 on the 5th Sept, 2015. Based on the feedback of the players, (particularly Andrew’s bold and kind advice on taking the knife to it) coupled with my own sense of lost-ness in the work overall, I have rewritten large sections of the second movement, at the same time excising 50 bars of sagging dead-weight......

 

 

​​In earlier incarnations of Elektra, there were often issues of, or was it creative conflict, in writing for a quartet and at the same time being in it; in wanting to give the group creative freedom through improvisation, (as in jazz) yet as a composer wanting to create the perfect structure, not subject to the vagaries of performance that often arose. Sometimes Elektra did well, other times not… the philosophy was there, but the luxury of time, for the hours of practise on individual impro and group work (again, as in the jazz tradition) was not there… more often than not it was fucked, and that included me…. Life goes on.

 

We would often, depending on the venue, perform this, and other works with electronics, ie, pickups on the instruments, going through guitar pedal effects boards, then through a small mixer which would then go through a looping device; in my writing I would make use of such possibilities. In the longer term I realise this is not an approach most string quartets even envisage (and I also understand why)….. . I leave such decisions, as well as stylistic approaches to the improvisational solos, ie, jazz, ambient, heavy metal, ‘contemporary’, (or whether to omit them), to the discriminating tastes and performance requirements of the performers.

 

String Quartet No. 4 "Undercurrents"
Andrew Haveron, violin;

Romano Crivici, violin;

Robert Harris, viola;

Adrian Wallis, cello.

Available on the Ebb & Flow album
Recently recorded (2016) with a grant from the Australia Council, with the revitalised and amazing lineup of Elektra...
2015 winner of the Sydney Fringe Festival Genre Excellence Award for BEST MUSIC PERFORMANCE
Recently recorded (2016) with a grant from the Australia Council, with the revitalised and amazing lineup of Elektra...
The video is a live performance at Venue 505, Surry Hills in 2015.
String Quartet #4 Undercurrents Mvt 1
 
String Quartet No 3 "Hardware"
Jacob Plooj, violin
Romano Crivici, violin
Rudi Crivici, viola
Emma Luxton, cello
Available on the Luminous album

Hardware is a piece that evolved over time, and was, in some senses a defining work of Elektra; I mean, it was hard, fast, and even when un-amplified and without effects, very ‘in your face’; a form of up-tempo, sonic brutality, which, when I wrote it I made sure gave us opportunities to improvise and “let-our-hair/strings down” and play around with over-the-top effects (our instruments went through electric guitar effects-boards and a looping device).

It was written with the particular (and peculiar) skills of each member of Elektra String Quartet in mind.

(Sadly the camera in this clip didn’t catch Rudi doing his viola solo, which in one review was described as “a lawn-mower in heat”.)

 
String Quartet No 2 "Cosmic Dust"
"Dance-mix" version -Aug, 2016. Dur: -23:15
ISMN: 979-0-720090-45-0

Review:

"....Crivici’s String Quartet No. 2, also for electric quartet, seemed to me to capture what is best about his music – original offbeat gestures, and a sense of musicality and concentration..."

Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, 1993

00:00 / 11:24
St Qt No 2 1st mvt
Available on the Luminous
album

Composed: 4th - 27th May, 1992

1st Revision : Dec. 1992 - Jan 1993

First performance: 5th March 1993, Eugene Goossens Hall, Sydney
 

2nd Revision: 2nd June – 1st August, 2016

Originally composed for and performed by the Elektra String Quartet in the 1990's, this version, whilst mostly similar to the original, has been commissioned for choreographer Ana Tajouti and the Sante String Quartet , for performance by Aha Ballet Company, Switzerland, in 2016.

 

Reflections on the work:

How Elektra String Quartet managed to perform this work of mine, I never know. The individual parts, and fragments of written score that I am now attempting to sort out and edit into a coherent score were tragically chaotic, handwritten, and riddled with mistakes. That we managed to play from them is a tribute to the ‘modus operandi’ of the group, which, in some ways enjoyed a certain freedom in playing from relatively ‘loose’ parts, which gave scope to improvisational urges. Looking back I can only presume it was some sort of profoundly patient faith in my musical ideas, (simple and undeveloped as they were at that time) and in the pleasure and commitment to performing new and rhythmically exciting work.

Then, in April, 2016 I received a request for the score by the Sante String Quartet, who were planning on performing it for a ballet production in Switzerland early January, 2016. However, they informed me the choreographer had already patched together a version, for her own artistic necessities, made up of sections from the original version of the work as it appeared on the Elektra Luminous album. Because of this, I had to revert to the original version, so as to make it fit the structure the choreographer, Ana Tajouti, had created.

It was a hard task; given the quartet had to be as it was on the CD, for the sake of the choreographer, I had to transcribe various sections, which were essentially extemporised, as in places my original score/parts only had fragments of ideas; rhythmic patterns, simple notes, which I left to the collective process and individual players to realise. So, in some senses this version owes a debt of gratitude to the quartet at the time; that is, Mirka Rozmus, (Vln I), myself on Vln 2, Rudolf Crivici, (Vla) and Peter Morisson (Cello). Thanks team…. Those were the days!

Happy as I am with the version I have now created (apart from small changes and additions, I rewrote the entire end section from Fig 72), and it stands, as a work in its own right, I nevertheless intend, should I have the time and head-space, to complete the new version I had started work on prior to this 'practical' detour.

 

Romano Crivici

 

Elizabeth Bay

Sydney

10th Aug, 2016

 

 
String Quartet No. 1
Performed in Copenhagen, Denmark, June 2013
Peter Morrison, cello

Written in the late hours of the evening, and early hours of the morning, interspersed with long nocturnal walks, I looked at the sleeping Sydney skylines and pondered the meaning of it all…

String Quartet no. 1 - 1st mvt

Available on the Luminous album

 

String Quartet no. 6: On and On

For String Quartet

Initial sketch: 1998

Rewritten/developed:  2003,

2nd Edition: revised 2018

ISMN: 979-0-720090-36-8

As I transcribed On and On from my old hand-written parts, (couldn't find the original score) I came to hear different ideas, lines and phrasings, so, as I revised it, I developed it further.

Needless to say, rehearsals, let alone performances, were often … stressful, confusing, to say the least, and required an intuitive sense of where to jump in to catch up, or fall behind to get into synch with the others...... deary me...

© 2016 Romano Crivici

Last Updated: Nov 2020

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