The title of this album refers to "String Quartet No. 1", which has the same name. But it can also stand as an all-inclusive name for the four compositions represented on the album, four stations on my journey as a composer, four different approaches to musical expression in time and space.
The journey begins in 1989 with "String Quartet No. 1 Quattro stazioni", and ends in 2013 with "String Quartet No. 2". Between these stations (albeit in reverse order on the album) are "Air d'ete suedois" for clarinet quintet (2009) and "Divertimento" for clarinet and piano (2010).
The first work, "String Quartet No. 1 Quattro stazioni", takes its starting point in some specific geographical locations: Holon, Israel; Rome, Italy; Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands; and Vassenden in the Hardanger region of Norway in the form of traditional melodic material that arose in these places.
The second work, "String Quartet No. 2", takes its starting point in textual rather than musical material. The poetry of several authors and with contrasting emotional content from movement to movement. Most vocal music begins with a text. Here the same principle is applied to instrumental music in that I have written a 'song'.
In the third work, "Air d'ete suedois", I take a further step in that I try to communicate a textual message through music. This is a musical narration that attempts to depict the soul's condition and activity.
The last work on the album, "Divertimento", is not built on either musical or textual materials drawn from other sources but is a work developed to some extent in accordance with specific classical formal principles, in this case, sonata form. These four stations have played major roles in my work as a composer; indeed, all four are important elements of the music I write today. - Kjell Habbestad