• 2022
  • 30′
  • violin, violin, viola, cello
  • première: Quatuor Bozzini, 12 November 2022, November Music
  • commission: November Music

My first string quartet, written for Quatuor Bozzini

Colourful vibrations swell to a rustic chirp. A repetitive chord progression steadily transforms under the influence of minute rhythmic shifts. Moving microtonal ornaments lead to a pure tonal reflection. Taking detours with influences from spectral and post-minimal music, Witness' calm quest ends in a melancholic, renaissance-esque conclusion that feels as alienating as it is familiar; as if it had been present beneath the surface all along.

I composed my first string quartet for the Canadian Quatuor Bozzini. With an excellent eye for quality, Quatuor Bozzini has built up a rich and diverse repertoire, regardless of trends. This has led to more than 400 commissioned works and approximately 500 premieres.

In de pers

Mark van de Voort, Concertzender15-11-2022
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about Witness
“Even more impressive is the world premiere of Witness by the Tilburg composer Merijn Bisschops. He wrote his first string quartet for Bozzini, commissioned by November Music. Bisschops makes optimal use of the Bozzini's great intonation and sharp hearing. The half-hour long string quartet has a calm but self-assured structure, in which repetitive patterns and simple, radiant harmonies predominate. With relatively simple means, Bisschops sets up a completely unique, serene sound world. Dancing arpeggios on the strings also suddenly get new colour on the cheeks. Musical experiment with a narrative power. A masterstroke by Bisschops, which certainly leaves you wanting more.”
Ben Taffijn, Nieuwe Noten14-11-2022
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about Witness
“The form of the string quartet fits perfectly with Bisschops' style of composing, 'Witness' may be his first for this line-up, but it will certainly not be his last. Leading in the first movement is a repetitive pattern of the first violin, around which the other strings circle. Gradually the music changes character, but very gradually, a bit like the landscape changes when you look outside from a moving train. Also beautiful is the rhythmic pattern in the high spectrum, sounding like a swarm of insects. The middle section has something dark and disruptive, in which the cello plays a major role. In the third part, the repetitive patterns return and the circle closes.”


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