String Quartet I
String Quartet I is a composition in four movements for string quartet. Each movement expresses a specific emotional and sensory experience with rainwater. Movement I, "Flood Plain," was inspired by wetlands in Nebraska and Kansas. Because the water is shallow and broken up by tall grass, it is stiller than a lake and refracts light in a unique way. This vast, luminous landscape is represented musically by perpetual horizontal motion combined with vertical ascension through the A harmonic series. The A and A' sections explore unpitched percussive textures created using extended bowing techniques. Movement II, "Drops," represents a gentle rainstorm that rolls in, gradually at first, and over time gives way to a steady downpour. The pizzicato timbre is paired with a simple tonal theme in a back-and-forth dance with bowed 12-tone counterpoint. A long coda features harmonic parallelism in the upper three voices over a pizzicato cello drone. Movement III, "Driftwood Hymn," is a chorale, drawing on my love of both classical choir and traditional American hymnody. This movement explores the deeply spiritual experience of lying down in the shallow Platte River and letting the current move my body downstream while all I can see above me is endless sky. Movement IV, "Barn Roof," is a celebration of community. When a storm rolls in, animals and humans alike can take shelter under the towering rafters of a barn and wait it out together. Like the previous movement, "Barn Roof" was inspired in part by American folk singing and bluegrass, which is evident in the quarter-tone passage and the fiddling style used throughout.
Table of Contents
Abstract -- Instrumentation -- Program notes -- Performance notes -- Preface -- I.""Flood Plain" (6 minutes) -- II."Drops" (7 minutes) -- III."Driftwood Hymn" (6 minutes) -- IV."Barn Roof" (6 minutes, 30 seconds) -- Vita
M.M. (Master of Music)