String Quartet in C (2015)
Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello.
Description: The string quartet is a challenge for the composer, because he does not have any other instruments and texture changes he can make. This being my first major Quartet is the reason this piece took five months to complete. The main thing focused on with this piece included the motif, or simply bringing back melodies (i.e. form), and the main inspiration included both Ravel’s String Quartet and walking through the neighborhoods outside in June and July (when the majority of the piece was written) and being inspired by nature. The first movement is a simple sonata-allegro form, which I wrote in isolation from the others in March, and underwent lots of editing in its development section. The first bar of the entire piece is the one motif that repeats throughout the entire thing. The second movement was actually the last one written, inspired partly by Shostakovich’s form of some of his quartets, and it has three main moods: slowish, moderate, and very fast, and sounds like a conversation throughout the fast sections with moments of calm. The end goes into one beat per bar, which gets louder and louder to the conclusion. The third movement includes lots of beautiful melodies, with several waterfall-esque runs in all four instruments (beginning in the violins at box 4) and repeating melodies, along with several key changes along the way. (There’s even a little col legno moment with the first violin.) The fourth movement sticks to a quick tempo throughout the entire thing, and focuses on the main motif of the first movement. One of the climaxes in the middle of the piece is sort of inspired by Ravel’s Sonatine for solo piano. It is relatively contained up until the end, where chaos reigns with the triplets, a calm repeat of the third movement’s motif in the viola, and then the triplets pick back up at the end with the ending of Ravel’s Introduction et Allegro in mind. The piece ends with the whole-tone scale leading down to the I. Shostakovich was another small bit of inspiration for the second movement of this piece.
While I have not had the full piece performed, here is a sample video of a couple excerpts of the violin parts.