Rounding the Apse (2011)

Instrumentation: string quartet
Duration: 8'
Premiere: PUBLIQuartet on April 20, 2011 at New York University Pless Hall, New York City

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Rounding the Apse has received numerous public performances by PUBLIQuartet and the JACK Quartet, it has been set into motion by choreographer Laura Goodman and the Minnesota Ballet , and it has been broadcast on contemporary music radio stations, including KRZA's “Sunday Morning [Un]classics” radio show and Kinetics Radio.

Program Note

The word ‘apse’ refers to the architectural, semi-dome structure in a church for both its spiritual and acoustic environment. It also refers to an apsis, which is a point along an elliptical orbit. Equally inspired by my background as a professional ballet dancer, I strove to evoke a kind of motion that orbiting suggests. The melodic content of this work explores the inverse relationship between a descending minor second and an ascending major seventh. In turn, I wanted to explore the emotional correlations between sadness and striving that the two intervals respectively connote. My approach to the ethereal texture of the opening and closing sections was inspired by my experience as a sound designer for theater. These sections rely heavily on the use of natural harmonics. The contrasting middle section is characterized by interlocking diatonic sonorities that are interwoven with aleatoric passages.