The Building of Curves
This piano quartet was commissioned by the Schubert Ensemble of London, with funding from the Schubert Ensemble Trust, and was premiered by them at the 1998 Spitalfields Festival in London.

The work is set in a two-movement form, balancing active and contemplative pieces, that concerned me throughout the 1990s. The first movement begins as a celebratory fanfare before giving way to a more reflective music, while the second movement is slow, and much darker in expression.

The title reflected two non-musical background elements: firstly, the work came into being partly as a celebration of Frank Gehryís elaborately curved Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao; in addition the shape of the work reflected Andrew Wilesí solution to Fermatís Last Theorem, which was achieved by making a link between two apparently unrelated ideas.

c Piers Hellawell 1998