Vivian Fine





Prelude for String Quartet




2 ¾ minutes


March 26, 1939, New York City, Town Hall Club, League of Composers’ Concert. Frederick Dvonch, Dorothy Kesner, Edward Neikrug, George Neikrug, string quartet


Available on demo CD

program notes

Sessions did not go in for fulsome praise. “I like it” was for him quite a compliment. However, he was much taken by the opening of [Prelude for String Quartet]. He said he wished he could have written it and said I had “aural vision.” This remark sustained me for many years.

–Vivian Fine, quoted in Heidi Von Gunden, The Music of Vivian Fine, Scarecrow Press, 1999


     Prelude for String Quartet is similar to Piece for Muted Strings in terms of gesture, meter, tempo and tonality, but demonstrates how Fine broke the reins of tonality. Her acute hearing was able to take a simple motif…and expand it into long sinuous lines. Although the Prelude has an A major key signature and does end on an A major triad, tonality is not a constraint. The Prelude’s beginning has a spaciousness that suggests a longer piece (it is a mere thirty-four measures)….Although the Piece for Muted Strings and the Prelude work well as a pair, they were not originally intended as such.

–Heidi Von Gunden, The Music of Vivian Fine, Scarecrow Press, 1999

audio files

Prelude for String Quartet