Breathing Space

2003, 20' for string quartet

Stravinsky asserted that his music expressed nothing, echoing the Buddha, who said more or less the same thing in the Heart Sutra.  Music at its root bridges the abstract and the concrete - we turn the sounds and rhythms of our lives into the architecture of thought; we sound it out and meditate on the result.  The emotional resonance (when it happens) rightfully remains a mystery.  When I write I try to visualize the ideal players performing: it's not enough to hear it, I want to feel the friction of the bow and see the movement of the body.  These three movements all have their roots in programmatic contexts, but together they tell no particular story.  "Breathing Space" was coaxed out of me by director Janet Sonenberg to open her deconstructed "Hamlet"; "No Return" and "Night Sit" come out of the multidisciplinary "Salmon River Project," as commissioned by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts.  They are dedicated to my father.

 

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