String Quartet no. 2

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String Quartet, no. 2 is an original composition for standard string quartet that was completed in March 2006. While the piece is intended primarily as a stand-alone creative work, I approached it as something of a culmination of my compositional work to date as well as a look forward into the next phase of my career. As such, the quartet is something of a transitional work, combining elements from my own past technique with a more recent and unified sense of my own style.

The quartet is divided into four movements. During my time at the University of Maryland, a frequent topic in my lessons was that of sectionalism in music composition, which is to say the aesthetic of juxtaposition of different musical elements as opposed to composition using a unified texture or a gradual transformation between ideas. As a result of these discussions, one of my first choices in beginning work on this quartet was to choose a unified approach versus a sectional approach. The four movements are organized as follows: a thematic fast movement composed of short elemental themes, a slow movement centered around two canons (one atonal and one modal), a dance movement that uses the baroque menuet and trio as a template, and a dramatic, texture-driven finale. In this way, the macro-structure serves as a kind of homage to classical tradition, an appropriate approach since the piece occasionally serves as an homage to older elements in my own style. However, the classical model only applies to this macro-level of the composition. Most elements within each movement depart significantly from traditional classical forms, just as my own style has macro-elements of classical form and technique that dissipate upon closer scrutiny.