String Quartet No. 4: Illuminations

Based On Paintings From The Book "The Hours Of Catherine Of Cleves" (c. 1440)

Stacy Garrop

Score and Part(s)
Performing Ensemble: String Quartet
Instrumentation: 2 Violins, Viola, Cello
Item Number: 114-41586
Number of Pages: 88
Duration: 19:00
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Custom Print, 4-5 days


Sample Media

Media Icon
Avalon String Quartet - Stacy Garrop - String Quartet No 4 'Illuminations'

Quick Overview

Stacy Garrop’s String Quartet No. 4: Illuminations was inspired by five illuminated pages from a medieval Book referred to as “The Hours of Catherine of Cleves.” Books of Hours, the most prolific book of the late Middle Ages, are prayer books for lay people that enable a person to participate privately in the daily round of prayers and devotions that were originally recited only by monks and priests. The main text of a Book of Hours contains a cycle of daily devotions consisting of psalms, lessons from scriptures, hymns, collects and other prayers. Because Books of Hours did not have page numbers or indexes, the illuminations (or illustrations) enabled the owner to quickly find the text needed for reciting the prayers. The quality and number of illuminations, often using silver and gold, depended upon the patron’s ability to pay.

Catherine (1417-1476), Duchess of Guelders and Countess of Zutphen, commissioned her Book of Hours and received it around 1442. Today her Book of Hours is considered to be the masterpiece of the finest (although anonymous) Dutch illuminator of the late Middle Ages. “The Hours of Catherine of Cleves” is one of the finest in the collection of Books of Hours in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.

In trying to craft the experience of reading Cleves’ Book of Hours, the composer approached the work similarly to Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. As in Mussorgsky’s work, the audience follows the reader as he or she opens the Book of Hours, studies and reflects upon five illuminations, and then closes the book at the end of prayer.

More Views

  • 114-41586
  • String Quartet No. 4: Illuminations

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by Nicholas Yasillo, founder and director of the Norton Building Concert Series
Composition Date 2011


The Book of Hours is opened
Catherine of Cleves prays to the Virgin and Child
Singing Angels
Interlude (Book of Hours)
Christ carrying the Cross
Interlude (Book of Hours)
Mouth of Hell
Anguished Souls
Trinity Enthroned
The Book of Hours is closed

Score Preview