The idea of disintegration, dissociation, lies at the heart of the First Quartet. I have to say that there is a certain amount of pessimism in it, a metaphor for the impossibility of togetherness, of understanding one's neighbor, a metaphor for the utter deafness of humanity (life itself in those years was so dark, so sad and hopeless...) The work grows out of a single pitch, from a common point. But various aspects of the musical material--the rhythmic and melodic successions, the types of articulation, and the dynamics--gradually begin to contradict one another. [quoted in Kurtz, p. 97]There is a performance on YouTube by the Molinari Quartet, so let's have a listen. No score, alas!
In early 1972 Boris Berman commissioned Gubaidulina to compose a piece for harpsichord and percussion. She ended up selecting three instruments from the collection of Mark Pekarsky, the chang, a dulcimer-like instrument from Central Asia, byan chung (Chinese bells), and Chinese cymbals. To these she added antique cymbals. The piece was premiered in April 1972 and received a very enthusiastic response from the audience. Sadly, this piece does not seem to be available on YouTube. I have posted this before, but never mind, let's have a listen to In the Beginning Was Rhythm, written in 1984: