Suárez: Peregrinations for string quartet





Peregrinations is a journey through distant, unpredictable realms, accompanied only by memories. The piece begins with the wanderer’s introspection of that left behind. This keepsake of home is ever-present, as if memory were the “æther” that binds together the uni- verse, or an amulet that protects from the pain of displacement. It resurfaces throughout the piece, ever-changing: a whisper, or breeze in the distance, at other times desperate, pleading, mysterious, violent. Just as Peregrinations begins as a memory, so it ends as one, the very last phrase of the piece being a fleeting restatement by the second violin, and a three-note “amen”. Only this final statement of memory—at the end of one’s “peregrinations”—is free of tension, peace finally made with the past. Sojourner and travels take the guises of four motifs that evolve, transform, and intermingle throughout the four movements, the goal being a diversity of landscapes sprouting from an economy of material. The four motifs are unified by conflict: the conflict between perfect fifths/fourths, and whole-tones. One motif is austere and based around a perfect fifth, another is in whole-tone incarnations. A third motif bridges the fifth /whole-tone dichotomy by beginning as the former and ending as the latter. A pseudo twelve-tone motif exists in both the “fifth” and “whole-tone” worlds at once, the semitone below the tonal center always absent. The entire piece is made from these elements in various lives, fragments spinning off and forming anew. None of the four motifs escape interaction, fragmentation, and recombining with others. Peregrinations attempts to travel through diverse geo-musical realms; like a refugee, it travels with a minimum of material, and is both burdened and comforted by visions of the home left behind.

This is how I conceived the quartet; however the piece is not programmatic, and the subtitle Peregrinations alone must suffice to leave the quartet’s wandering colors and “geographic” disconnects to be interpreted by the individual listener.

Duration approximately 18’ 30”

Tom Suárez June, 2013 

Score              £8

Set of parts     £19

Additional information


Parts, Score, Score and parts


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