Commissioned by the Morrison Artist Series of San Francisco, for the Daedalus String Quartet.
World premiere: March 15, 2017 Morrison Artist Series, McKenna Theatre, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA; Daedalus String Quartet
String Quartet #3 is my most extended foray to date into this rich instrumental genre, and it was commissioned for a concert also featuring older works from the classical quartet repertoire. As such, I decided, in the 2nd , 3rd and 4th movements especially, to reference some string quartet traditions, particularly those of gesture and form while nonetheless endeavoring to maintain a consistent thread. The last three movements, in fact, were sketched more or less simultaneously in one feverish afternoon and evening. The quartet’s introduction announces a three-note motto: C, F, and D flat, and this pattern appears in some fashion in each of the four movements. The first movement is the most highly atonal, and a restless Allegro follows a harmonically ambiguous introduction. The 2nd movement is a theme and an extended set of variations. A scherzo-like idea inspired the third movement, and its emphatic tone and tonal contour is accompanied by scales harmonized in 7ths. The last movement projects several distinct moods in contrasting sections, but the frenetic quality of its opening theme prevails through much of the movement. The quartet lasts approximately 35 minutes.