String Quartet No.1 “Wrong Ocean” (2012)
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Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello
Duration: 12 minutes
World Premiere: June 4, 2013, Secret Quartet, Turtle Bay Music School, NYC
May 21, 2014, Tom Chiu (violin), Rachel Golub (violin), Stephanie Griffin (viola), Meaghan Burke (cello), Roulette, Brooklyn, NY
April 2, 2015, Momenta Quartet, Red Note New Music Festival, Kemp Recital Hall, Illinois State University, Normal, IL
April 16, 2015, Momenta Quartet, The MATA Festival, The Kitchen, NYC
April 27, 2015, Momenta Quartet, Center for Jewish History, NYC
String Quartet No. 1 “Wrong Ocean” is a personal meditation on the fluidity of our perception, mindfulness amid a hyperactive society and the cyclical nature of being.
It was described as “a rhythmically vital evocation of rough waves and tidal forces” (The Wall Street Journal), and was praised as “a kinetic, ten-movement flurry of wild precision,” which offers “another extreme while exhibiting an analogous standard of discipline and maturity.” (icareifyoulisten.com)
In my first string quartet, commissioned by CBD Music, Inc., I explore simultaneity and synchronicity as musical phenomena within the context of a psychologically disorienting microtonal environment. Ocean tides and currents are a metaphor for the human consciousness within a frantic urban environment. The world of electronic music inspired my original sound palette. By preserving sonic features idiomatic to the live, acoustic ensemble, alongside concepts appropriated from electronic composition, I exploit characteristics latent in, but less commonly associated with quartet writing.
“Wrong Ocean” often sounds aleatoric or modular, but is completely and conventionally notated. Uproarious, sometimes confusing effects, simple in isolation, are arranged into complex textures and kaleidoscopic soundscapes, offering listeners an inspiring, new sound world.