For further details see individual movements.
Gabrieli String Quartet.
The original slow movement (composed 15-18 May 1931) was discarded, although the draft survives in the archive (see Sources).
The work was given a private run-through by the Stratton Quartet on 16 March 1932. It was revised by the composer in 1974 as a first step towards returning to composition after his heart surgery the previous year. At Britten's request the Gabrieli String Quartet gave the work a run-through on 20 March 1974 in the Library at The Red House so that he could evaluate his revisions.