Theodore Antoniou
"The String Quartets"

L' Anima string quartet:

Stella Tsani - 1st violin

Brunilda - Eugenia Malo - 2nd violin

Eleftheria Togia - viola

Lefki Kolovou - cello


CD 1

Divertimento for String quartet (String quartet no. 3) (2004)



Molto rubato e melancolico

Presto possibile

Slow, Dinstant


For no reason and from scratch (String quartet no. 4) (2006) 

5 Sholia (Comments) (String quartet no. 5) (2009)






CD 2

String quartet no. 1 (1959)


(Theme and variations) – Andante

Scherzino pizzicato


String quartet no. 2 (1998)




String quartet no. 6 (2011) 

About the six String Quartets

The six string quartets, written over a long period, starting in 1959 and culminating in 2011 show my constant and compositional development, but also my position in molding the systems which I used in order to turn them into a personal language of expression, as well as my emancipation on their use.


1st String Quartet

It was written in 1959 and chosen together with another work of mine, the Triple Concert for violin, trumpet and clarinet, for a composition competition, held by the Greek Radio (ERA). At the time, the head of the music department was Giorgos Sisilianos and the orchestra conductor was Frantz Litschauer.

The quartet consists of four parts:

I – Maestoso

II - (Theme and variations) - Andante

III - Scherzino pizzicato

IV - Allegro

It was one of my first attempts at assimilating atonal techniques, with elements of Greek musical tradition, while using modern string instrument techniques as much as possible.


2nd String Quartet

It was written in 1998. It consists of three parts and is based on the free use of a twelve-tone row. It is a display of virtuosity and uses modern string instrument techniques. The first part consists of free variations on the thematic material. The second, in A-B-A form, is mainly homophonic, more dance-like and is based on the change between 6/8 and 3/4.

The third part, also of an upbeat, dance mood and in A-B-A form, is characterised by the combination of more complex rhythms. This composition is dedicated to all my friends, string instrument players and especially those who continue to keep the idea of a string quartet alive.


Divertimento for String Quartet (3rd String Quartet)

The "Divertimento for String Quartet" was written especially for my colleagues and friends of the "New Greek Quartet": George Demertzis (violin), Dimitris Chandrakis (violin), Chara Seira (viola) and Apostolos Chandrakis (cello). I really wanted to write a string quartet for them, which would express my admiration for their musical ability. I named it "Divertimento" (and not 3rd String Quartet) not only because it has many different parts, but because I wanted to give a happier tone, at least to some of them. Each part is based on a different idea and has its own unique character. I tried to react instinctively and write something simple rather than "avant-guarde", but a work which can easily communicate with both the musicians and the audience, one rather realistic in conception as well as technical capabilities.

I am afraid that once more, despite my best intentions, I failed to do this.


4th String Quartet

The fourth string quartet, entitled «For no reason and from scratch», was truly written without any particular reason, from «nothing». At the time, there was neither a programmed direction, nor a certain way of evolution. It is based on the free usage of a dodecatonal sequence and is characterised by the constant interjections of various free parts into others which are strictly organised.


"5 SHOLIA" (Five Comments) (5th String Quartet)

The "Five Comments for String Quartet" were written in 2009 for some friends of mine, great fans of the string quartet. The word "comments" in the title is in fact an abstract effort to "musically" comment on various events. There are 5 short pieces of narrative, based on the aptitude of the various string instruments. Each "comment" wants to express ideas using a different auditory material and character. The 1st, narrative, using material which moves towards certain directions. The 2nd, quite brief, with constant alternation of timbres. The 3rd, in constant motion, a genre common in Baroque music. The 4th, slower, with drone notes upon which melodic elements are allowed to flourish. The 5th can be seen as a summary of the previous four.


6th String Quartet

The 6th string quartet is written in one part. It starts in trance and develops in rhythmic passings and improvised segments with free repetitions of rhythmic and melodic patterns.


"I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, my colleagues and friends of the L’ ANIMA quartet, Stella Tsani (violin), Brunilda Eugenia Malo (violin), Eleftheria Togia (viola) and Lefki Kolovou (cello) who study and play my music with great love and devotion. 

I would also like to thank my colleague, friend and close collaborator, composer and conductor and beloved student, Iakovos Konitopoulos, for his invaluable help in preparing the quartets, as well as many of my other activities, as well as the Union of Greek Composers." 

- Theodore Antoniou