Many of you are surely familiar with Mozart's lovely "mixed" quartets, essentially four-part compositions for one "special" instrument (oboe or flute) plus string trio, i.e. violin, viola, and cello. In essence these are "instrumentation variants" of the string quartet texture and Mozart, with his inimitable touch of genius at every corner, makes magic with the opportunities afforded him by the featured, wind instrument.
Much more humbly than that, I just finished my own Quartet for Mandolin and String Trio, commissioned by Israeli mandolinist Alon Sariel, who will premiere it at the Lunel Festival this coming July, joined by the Hamburg Trio. In this case, too, the mandolin-part is interwoven among the (bowed) strings, in a sort of "soloist-lite" role, yet still within the ensemble.
The movements— I hope— are colorful in spirit and character, marked Allegro furioso, Lento recitando and Presto alla caccia respectively. In tipping my hat to the Master of Us All, I closed the final, "hunt"-movement with a stereotypical "Mozart Hallelujah", which in this case did not seem inappropriate. But only the audience can judge the effectiveness of a composer's intentions...
The score will remain in Alon's hands exclusively, at least until the premiere. After that, ye touring mandolinists have at it! None of the parts are terribly difficult to play, and the piece altogether is intended for performing artists who are well versed in the harsh reality of too few rehearsals, too many concert-dates. It should take no more than a couple of quick, short sessions to put together.
Cheers to the artful Maestro Sariel, and to mixed quartets in general.
It is not man who lives, but his work. (Ioannis Kapodistrias)