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passacaglia on a theme by béla bartók (2023)

for string quartet

ca. 6' minutes

shop > chamber (2-8 players) > passacaglia on a theme by béla bartók (2023)

Passacaglia on a Theme by Béla Bartók (2023)

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Commissioned by

The Alfama Quartet for their 22/23 concert season: "German Romanticism"

Premiered by

Alice Van Leuven, violin

Caroline Denys, violin

Morgan Huet, viola

Renaat Ackaert, cello

on the 24th of April, 2023

in the MIRY Concert Hall

Ghent, Belgium

program notes

I was working on a little exercise in a classical passacaglia form, when I got asked to contribute a short piece for the Quatuor Alfama string quartet, and their 22/23 concert season. What started as a short exercise that I wanted to finish in a week, suddenly became a vast exploration into new possibilities. I sketched and discarded and re-ordered the material that I already had, and kept sculpting it for a few months before sending it in to the concert organizers. The theme that kept me company throughout the writing process was one of the central motifs from Bartók's seminal masterwork, "Concerto for Orchestra".

Thanks to Ruben De Gheselle and Michaël Penson for organizing this collaboration, and of course my composition teacher Dominique for his continued guidance.


Find the official recording of this release on these various featured media.

Recording made of the premiere performance by Alice Van Leuven, 

Caroline Denys, Morgan Huet, Renaat Ackaert of Quatuor Alfama on the 24th of April, 2023, in the MIRY Concert Hall in Ghent, Belgium.

Recording technician: Michaël Penson


Artboard 1

After the main theme's presentation, the chromaticism gradually increases and intertwines into a wriggling tangle of voices. Paulus concludes with a dying 'misterioso'.

— regis dragonetti

Artboard 1

The Alfama Quartet give a wonderful performance of a fascinating and beautifully crafted piece.

— john caruso

Artboard 1

The quartet is brilliant. Tremendously versatile and haunting.

— Ros charron

portrait of milo paulus


Milo Paulus (b. August 14th, 1999) is a Dutch composer, conductor, orchestrator and score producer specializing in original music for concerts, screen and stage productions. His catalog spans a diverse range of styles and influences for both instrumental and vocal works, as well as countless original soundtracks for films and video-games. His works have been commissioned by various performing groups, festivals and institutions.

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