Dreaming in Waves
For String Quartet
Commissioned by the Bridge Chamber Music Series.
Premiered by the Artaria String Quartet. August, 2014.
Artaria String Quartet
As a string player, I have always loved writing string quartets. I have previously written three other pieces for this ensemble. Each of the members of a great string quartet communicates with the others in subtle, yet deep ways. Quartets breathe and move in sync, the four members feel the music as a one organism. In Dreaming in Waves I wanted to take advantage of this kind of communication, so I deviced a system of notation that allows for much greater expressive freedom for the players.
Dreaming in Waves begins with a warm, and serene texture. The first violin provides some contrast by “floating” in and out of sync with the rest of the quartet. The first violin is jittery, and somewhat anxious, while the rets of the group continues in its gentle texture, as though in a dream.
The middle section becomes darker and more expressive. As the ensemble becomes a kaleisdoscopic wave maker (the strings bow across the strings back and forth at different rates), a slow and beautiful melody begins tentatively in the viola. Gradually, it gains power and momentum as it is passed around the four instruments. Echoes of the jittery first violin return at the conclusion of the piece, yet they seem destined to be forgotten. The piece ebbs away to silence as if it were waking from a heavy sleep.