String Quartet #2

String Quartet #2 (2016)
approx. duration = 16’30”

MIDI Realization. This piece has yet to be performed.

For my 2nd string quartet, I was going for something shorter and not so heavy. I am somewhat daunted by the prospect of composing for string quartet, since it has been taken to so many extremes by the masters. What more can be done? Is it even possible to compose anything worthwhile? After passing through the feeling of being overwhelmed, I relaxed into the process and just had fun with it.

For inspiration, I listened to these string quartets multiple times: Beethoven #13, op. 130 with the Grosse Fugue, op. 133, Brahms #1, Schubert #13, Berg’s Lyric Suite, and Bartok #1. Mine sounds nothing like any of these works. If anything, I am reminded of “Viola In My Life” by Morton Feldman.

The 1st movement introduces various themes, and juxtaposes them in different combinations. The 2nd movement is based on the fast cello line in the opening movement. The notes are elongated and provide the bass line, also played in the cello, upon which the harmonies are built. The descending melodic lines heard throughout the 1st and end of 2nd, are taken from the descending Violin and Cello melody in the 3rd movement. The final movement is a series of sudden harmonic and rhythmic shifts, while a steady rhythmic pulse repeats.

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