String Quartet 2 (Albatross)


“I remember the first albatross I ever saw.” – Herman Melville, Moby Dick, beginning of a footnote from Chapter 42, “The Whiteness of the Whale”

This quartet is part of a series of works that has grown from a desire to compose music whose sonic result is made up of layers of slowly unfolding physical processes. I am interested in music that integrates the individual performer, their particular instrument, and the performance environment into essential parts of the final musical result. In this piece, all bowing is aligned with the player’s breathing. An up-bow occurs simultaneously with an inward breath, while a down-bow is simultaneous to exhaling. The first section uses mostly the upper portion of the bow. Each section progressively uses more bow until the end of the piece. With the left hand, the performer attempts to produce as “toneless” a sound as possible, with minimal perceptible components of discrete pitch, similar to white noise.