The Isaura String Quartet will premiere my string quartet, ‘rhythm color #3—fiction’ at a concert of new works by LA composers on Saturday, April 5 at SPACE Arts Center in South Pasadena.
Other composers on the program include: Morgan Gerstmar, Jules Gimbrone, and Gustavo Uribe.
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 8 pm
SPACE Arts Center
1506 Mission Street
South Pasadena, CA 91030
The rhythm color pieces explore harmony as a function of time. While the first two deal with the standard rhythmic metric, #3 deals with time as a function of counting/calculation (individual) and power dynamics (group). Dealing with the Pythagorean tuning relationships between the five pitch classes of the open strings of the quartet (C, G, D, A, E), the players are presented with a grid-like score of pitches/numbers; each cell with the instruction to be either played, not played, or left to the players to decide.
My quartet “Asperges Me” was premiered by What’s Next? Ensemble (Alexander Elliott Miller, electric guitar; Sakura Tsai, violin; Brett Banducci, viola; Joo Lee, cello) at their annual Los Angeles Composers Project on April 19 in Pasadena. The piece is based on the Latin antiphon of the same name, which is a part of the Roman Catholic Mass. Taken from Psalm 51, my piece uses the first two lines, “Thou shalt purge me, with hyssop and I shall be clean: Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” I wrote the piece following the birth of my nephew (the piece is dedicated to his parents) while thinking about the transformative possibilities that lie dormant in every relationship. One can view the piece as a kind of deconstruction of the chant. The melody itself has a beautiful rise and fall, invoking a sense of striving as it ascends and release as it falls and returns to the tonic. I took the melody and broke it down into 1-3 note fragments which are played in each voice and harmonized according to a range of overtone ratios. I prefer to look at the piece as a kind of translation, or opening-up. Each voice plays every part of the entire melody, but each with its own harmonization. As a collective, the ensemble plays the entire set of ratios and the audience gets to hear each note of the melody cast in a slightly different way, giving the piece a sense of multi-dimensionality. Duration, dynamics, and even the choice of one instrument are decided upon by the players, granting a wide range of expressive potential and making each performance specific to the ensemble.