Streams (String Quartet No. 1) (2011)

Instrumentation: String quartet or string orchestra

Duration:  ca. 10:30

Premiere: 10.16.2011, by Ashley Martin and Celeste Carruth, violins, Emily Bartell, viola, and Pierre Derycz, cello at Michigan Music Teacher Association State Conference, Lansing, MI.

Commissioned by:  Michigan Music Teachers Association (MMTA) and Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).

Program Notes: In many ways, Streams is about the process and mystery of inspiration. I spent a good portion of three consecutive days, simply trying to begin… and nothing would come to me until the third day. What came to me on the third day of my struggle to start this piece was a musical depiction of the sudden-like nature of inspiration: it can come when you least expect it and it can be far from you when you want it most (as in this case). So the beginning of Streams portrays this “being-visited” by the Muse in surging, wave-like phrases of music that give way to a simple and initially fragile motive which is to gradually emerge as the unifying DNA of the piece.

The textures of Streams occasionally thicken with unisons between the four instruments in rising and falling motions which suggest rapids or crashing waves. At other points the textures evaporate into sprays, droplets, and mist… rippling and glistening splashes of color that can all be characteristic of streams of water. Thus, Streams is somewhat of a meditation on the myserious “streams” that flow from within the one who is inspired…

Hear excerpts of Streams (String Quartet No. 1) from its premiering ensemble below:

Clip #1

Clip #2

Clip #3