May 1995

String Quartet No. 2: La Maestà


12 minutes

Written for The Nossek Quartet, Manchester and first performed by them, University of Bristol, May 1995.

SPNM-promoted performance by the Sorrel String Quartet at The Cheltenham International Festival of Music, July 1997

Extracted for inclusion on SPNM’s CD “Short Cuts”, April 1998

First broadcast performance (also by the Sorrel String Quartet, also from Cheltenham) live on BBC Radio 3, July 8th 1999, with interview. Repeat broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 20th August 2001

Above all, this work owes its existence to my fascination with Italy’s bells – particularly those in Florence. With this in mind, the first clip shows the dissolution and resolution of the dissonance and complexity built up in the first movement into something quite new! The second clip is taken from the end of the final fifth movement, where quite another kind of resolution is brought about. The performers are the Sorrel Quartet.


  • 1
    String Quartet No.2 - 1 Firenze bells extract
  • 2
    String Quartet No.2 - 5 La Tempesta extract

Sample Score Pages


“It is a tribute to the Mr Palmer’s sureness of vision and the Sorrels’ playing that this work was in no sense dwarfed by the works of Haydn, Mozart and Shostakovitch”

(Roger Jones reviewing Cheltenham Festival performance of String Quartet No. 2: La Maestà)