Finnegans Quarks Revival
for piano solo

Paul Frehner
Paul Frehner
Composition Date: 2005
Revision Date: 2006
Duration: 00:33:00
Genre: Keyboard, Piano, One Keyboard, Two Hands


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Piano
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Programme Note:
In the 1960’s, American physicists Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig developed a theory in which they proposed the existence of subatomic particles. Gell-Mann dubbed them ‘quarks’ after the passage ‘Three quarks for Muster Mark’ in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. In the years after their hypothesis six quarks, or elementary particles, were gradually discovered, the most recent being the top quark in 1995. The names of the six quarks are up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom. Two, top and bottom, had at first alternate names suggested for them. These were truth and beauty, respectfully. Ultimately, these names were abandoned by the scientific community...but not by the composer!

Finnegans Quarks Revival is a work for solo piano that is almost but not entirely unlike certain fascinating tenets of quantum theory that I have freely interpreted for my musical purposes. For example, quarks have immensely varied sizes and weights – the top quark is more than 30 000 times more massive than the up quark. This notion is somewhat compressed here, to say the least, as the truth-top combination is only about 7 times the duration of up. Quarks also move and spin at different rates as they move in orbit about a nucleus. I’ve interpreted this by employing a wide range of tempi and numerous contrasting levels of rhythmic activity throughout the piece. Perhaps most interestingly, quantum mechanics has shown that there is a basic interconnectedness of all phenomena. Interpreted artistically, this idea about the nature of reality can allow for a certain amount of freedom in searching for ways to relate rather disparate musical ideas and allusions.

The individual movements in Finnegans Quarks Revival are entitled after the whimsical names of the quarks that inspired them.


Commissioned by: Brigitte Poulin

Premiere Information:
March 31, 2006 Chapelle historique du Bon Pasteur Montreal Brigitte Poulin


  • Call Number:
  • MI 2110 F861fi
  • Genre:
  • Keyboard, Piano, One Keyboard, Two Hands
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • December 16, 2010
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (71 p.) ;
    71 Pages
    Height: 32 cm
    Width: 24 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • Piano solo
    Revised June 2015 [Library copies are original version]

    Recording Details: qb, CQB 0805, DAME 2008
    Edifices naturels, Brigitte Poulin piano
    Down, Bottom, Beauty, Strange, Charm, Up, Truth, Top
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Available Products for this piece:

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Finnegans Quarks Revival for Piano Solo: Score
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Finnegans quarks revival for piano solo by Paul Frehner (Score)
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Finnegans Quarks Revival for piano solo
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Copies of this work are available for loan from: Montréal, Calgary