String Quartet No. 2

Amernet String Quartet
Live Recording, Merkin Hall, New York, NY

See the score.

Program Note for String Quartet No. 2

String Quartet No. 2 was written for the Amernet String Quartet. The initial inspiration for the work came from my fascination with the universe, particularly the Big Bang Theory and various theories on the ultimate fate of the universe. After reading about a varieties of theories about the end of the universe, I chose to try to depict the Big Crunch, which is the opposite of the Big Bang. This was a purely musical decision. The piece was also inspired by the concept of multiverses as I was also reading a book about that at the time.

Musically, the piece is essentially a chaconne using a 12-tone row as the basis for the root of each triad used. I decided to shape the work into three parts: the first part was inspired by the Big Bang and expansion. The chaconne progression is presented violently with the harmonies clashing against each other. The music moves from aggressively attached chords in each part to arpeggios and eventually ascends to the highest registers, where the second section begins. It starts in the highest registers of the strings via artificial harmonics and gradually the chaconne harmonies become more clear until arriving at the climax in which the 12 chord progression is presented completely clearly. It quickly breaks apart and the beginning of the quartet is presented in retrograde to illustrate the Big Crunch. The final section acts as a long coda and is played completely as natural harmonics, and the piece eventually evaporates.

The work lasts approximately 9 minutes.

String Quartet No. 2

Score and Parts