1. Andante tranquillo in the Dorian Mode on A.
2. Presto, with a middle section on meno mosso in the Aeolian Mode on D.
3. Andante sostenuto, leading to Allegro vivace in the Mixolydian Mode on A.
The String Quartet in A minor, Op. 4, written in 1923-24, was the second work Alan Bush wrote while a student of John Ireland. The basic material of all three movements is in English national style. It is treated consistently in an appropriate harmonic idiom, but occasionally there is chromatic eclecticism in the accompanying voice parts. The formal structure in all three movements is clear, and the work is of modest dimensions and does not include a movement in Sonata form.