String Quartet “Divorce”

In the composition of this string quartet, I have permitted myself to be led by my personality and experiences and have attempted to relate experiences such as divorce, separation and the failure of a relationship in the language of music with the aid of notes and rhythms. As is the case with my other compositions, this quartet is more a work originating from intuition than the description of a historical event, a journey or a place.

The beginning of the first movement is somewhat wild, rapid and sorrowful with an irregular rhythm. Intermittent sections ensue which are reminiscent of a jazz club. Living history is our present which we are currently experiencing.

The second movement with a melancholic atmosphere is dominated by colours, the subject of searching, the search for a remedy and unhappiness.

In contrast, the final movement is intended to express the hatefulness, arguments and disputes within a relationship which have been transformed into a profound trauma.

(Fazıl Say, translated by Lindsay Chalmers-Gerbracht)


I Allegro maestoso
II Andante
III Presto


  • Tags: Quartet
  • Opus No: 29
  • Duration: 16 minutes
  • Year of Composition: 2010
  • Commissioned by: Konzerthauses Dortmund
  • Word Premiere Date: March 11, 2010
  • World Premiere Location: Dortmund (G) Konzerthaus Dortmund - Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Violin; Priya Mitchell, Violin; Vladimir Mendelssohn, Viola; Thomas Demenga, Violoncello
  • YouTube
  • Spotify
  • Schott Music