String Quartet (2017)

Duration: 16.5 minutes
Commissioned by Sarah Berges

World premiere: April 13-15, 2018
Martha Graham Studios, New York
Mivos Quartet (Olivia De Prato and Lauren Cauley Kalal, violins; Victor Lowrie, viola; Mariel Roberts, cello)
Sarah Berges Dance, choreography by Sarah Berges

This work is available for retail purchase from Theodore Front Musical Literature.
This work is available for institutional purchase from Harrassowitz (OttoEditions) and Theodore Front Musical Literature.

Program note: My first string quartet was commissioned by choreographer Sarah Berges for her dance company, and premiered by the Mivos Quartet. It’s in two movements, and a frequent image I had is somewhat expressed in the esoteric phrase, “as above, so below.” I wanted to play, not with exact symmetry, but with near symmetry and relationships across an expanse. For example, the first entrance of the second violin and viola has those two instruments creating rocky waves in the middle register while the first violin and cello are in the extremes. The high melody of the first violin is almost mirrored by the cello, but not quite, and this sort of tension is expressed in various ways throughout the piece. The second movement is a set of variations on this same theme from the first movement, and the end of the work restores balance after reaching a high point of asymmetry.

Two short excerpts from the work’s premiere with the Mivos Quartet: