Lark String Quartet: (Eva Gruesser, violin; Robin Mayforth, violin; Anna Kruger, viola; Astrid Schween, cello); John Hendrickson, piano; Lisa Waters, flute; David Peck, clarinet; William Ver Meulen, first horn; Roger Kaza, second horn; Richard Brown, percussion; Brian Connelly, piano; Kenneth Goldsmith, violin; Norman Fischer, cello; Larry Rachleff, conductor; Concord String Quartet: (Mark Sokol, violin; Andrew Jennings, violin; John Kochanowski, viola; Norman Fischer, cello)
String Quartet No. 2 (1988) is in four connected sections, slow-fast-slow-fast, with sections three and four being developments of one and two. With the exception of the diatonic theme in the second slow section, all the melodic material is derived from the opening viola solo. Strong contrast of consonance and dissonance is char- acteristic of much of my music, and this is exploited in the harmonic vocabulary of the piece.
Scherzo (1989) is based on a short motive from Brahms’s Trio for Violin, Horn, and Piano, Op. 40, which is heard in several almost literal statements as well as in various permuta- tions of it. The music digresses from the motive considerably, but always returns to it as a kind of structural pillar. The Stone Forest (1989) is a translation in reverse of the subtitle of Beethoven’s Sonata in C, Op. 53, “Waldstein”, and the piece is a condensation, almost an implosion of the main ideas from the first movement...
Menil Antiphons (1989), the first work commissioned by Houston’s Da Camera Society, was written to take advantage of the acoustical and architectural properties of the Menil Collection, Houston’s newest art museum. In the first two- thirds of the piece, the horns are separated from the core en- semble, creating the antiphonal effect suggested by the title. In addition, the Christmas antiphon “Puer natus est” is embedded in the texture, in the crotales played by various members of the ensemble in the final section.
String Quartet No. 1 (1974) was written for the Concord String Quartet. Like String Quartet No. 2, it is in four connected sections, slow-fast-slow-fast, and the two pieces share some pitch material as well. I find this structure (inspired by Bartók’s String Quartet No. 3) to be very malleable in terms of proportions and allows for a continuity of thought that is some- times elusive in pieces with separate movements.
— Ellsworth Millburn
This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).