Alan Bush has said that this work owes its title to its musical construction. The opening bars provide the source from which the whole of the rest of the movement is derived. Five main themes are stated developed and recapitulated in combination with one another. Finally, their contradictions are resolved in a mood of optimism.
The Quartet consists of a single extended movement, in the sonata form so typical of string quartet writing since the time of Haydn. It falls broadly into the customary sections - exposition, development and recapitulation.
Alan Bush comments: "This was my first extended work to be organised not only harmonically and rhythmically, but also thematically: the exposition contains five subjects, and all of these, as well as the counter-melodies heard with them, are derived from the work's opening, a passage played in unison. It occurred to me that the way in which these subjects, with their notes of varying length, swing from fast to slow, and then from faster to slower, is reminiscent of the developing contradictions in Hegelian dialectic. Moreover, the exposition has an objective character: the development is agitated and emotional, while the 'thesis and antithesis' find their synthesis in the resolute energy of the recapitulation and coda".