Shadows (2012)

string quartet
Duration: approx. 14 min 30 sec

Performed by the Thalia Quartet

Program Note:

Shadows is the result of an enduring fascination with shadows themselves. Each of the movements uses a different approach to aurally portray the concept of shadow.

Named for the lunar eclipse, ‘Eclipse’ plays with the interaction of a Sun chord, outlined in the opening measures, with a darker Moon chord. The solar harmony prevails at the beginning, but the lunar chord gradually creeps in, growing closer to the sun chord until the climax, when the moon chord is juxtaposed over the sun chord. The harmonies then move back apart in a palindromic fashion, leaving only the sun chord.

The second movement is divided into two distinct sections. The first section, embodying the tranquil, hovering quality of shadows, is essentially a chord progression in which harmonies slowly evolve as each part moves individually, and only presents two melodic fragments in the first violin. The second section makes use of echoes, an auditory analog to shadows, with the melodic fragments from the first section in all of the voices. These echoes give rise to a composite melody, which eventually destabilizes and breaks down.