Joey Roukens is a Dutch composer. His Quartet What remains
was commissioned by the Amsterdam String Quartet Biennale especially for the Dudok Quartet, who are on their second visit to Bantry. It opens with a mighty pizzicato introducing music that unfolds like a landscape, but whose energy becomes increasingly propulsive. The substantial second movement begins and ends in quiet contemplation either side of a breakout central section. Shostakovich Five was written during Russia’s last dictatorship, one wonders what is being written for the bottom drawer during the current one. The Fifth was composed at the height of Stalin’s paranoia and discreetly put aside until he was dead. It is in three movements played without a break, it has everything, a virile powerhouse first movement with a delicious motto theme that keeps popping up, a quiet even peaceful slow movement and a monstrous Finale that varies from furious sarcasm to sheer violence to gentle dances crowned by a wonderful consolatory coda.