Premiere: American String Quartet, May 5, 2019 in Red Bank, NJ
Duration: 12 minutes
Buzzing……whirring……glitching……ringing……thumping……. We are constantly saturated with noises that permeate our daily lives. On a recent trip to Cambodia, I was especially attuned to the persistent noises of buzzing insects that accompanied my walk through the thick jungle, and this cacophony gelled with my emotional reaction to the terrible genocide of the Khmer people. I give voice to this background babbling in this quartet, organizing the various moments as episodes that freely morph from one event into another. One can hear buzzing at the beginning that turns into a waltz, which in turn transforms into a motoric adventure of machine-like chuggings-along. Much like the sound of thumping bass in a neighboring car, the episodes come in as waves and then disappear into the distance to be replaced by other soundscapes. The end result is an unrelenting fast and virtuosic 12-minute tour-de-force quartet.