It was a pleasure to work with the Mivos Quartet for the premiere of my String Quartet at Elebash Hall on 9 May as part of their residency at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Here is a little bit about how I approached making this piece:
This string quartet contrasts different scales of control at which the performers shape the sounds of their instruments. At one extreme, rapid bowing articulates a steady pulse that is directly synchronized to the motion of the performer’s arm. At the other extreme, the same rhythm is achieved through the interaction between instruments as an acoustic effect disarticulated from the bow arm’s rhythm: the standard just-intonation of the instruments causes harmonics on the cello and viola to have conflicting tunings and thus to produce beat rhythms that the performers can turn on or off, but not regulate in speed. Progressively the performers force their instruments into states that produce more complex and unstable sounds. The moment-to-moment play of sound desynchronizes from the bodies of the performers, though it is always dependent upon their refined skill.