for 2 violins, viola, cello
Why “No. 1”? Because it’s the first essay in the form that I’ll still stand by, and because I have sketches for No. 2. Why “In A” (major/minor)? Because it is, and I can, and if you don’t like it, go listen to some Ferneyhough. It’s dedicated to the memory of major American quartet writer David Diamond, who died while I was writing it. It was premiered by the Cleveland Chamber Collective, on a Cleveland Composers Guild concert.
I. Sonata quasi una ciaccona “Quasi una ciaccona” because instead of two themes, it is based on two series of chord roots, which are subjected to the classical serial procedures (without, however, subjecting the harmonies erected upon them to the same procedures). This doesn’t always result in functional harmony, but there’s FUN in dysFUNctional.. It sounds a bit like early Beethoven would have if Beethoven’s dad had driven him into 20th century American commercial music.
II. In silent streets of water. The original impetus for this came from images of the Hurricane Katrina flooding. It later went in other directions, and should in no wise be understood as “about” Katrina. It’s just a better title than “adagietto” or “mesto”.
III. Rondo Afro-Gorale The original conceit was to imagine a blues band crash-landing in the Tatra mountains of Poland and swapping licks with the local string band. There’s very little authentically Black or Polish about this, except for some boogie and blues feel, particularly in the central section, and the heavy double-stopped beats, where sounds seem to be thrown at the ictus instead of placed on it..