This is a very significant piece for me both in the scope of the work and musical content. String Quartet No. 1 was the first piece of large significance that I composed while at Florida State. From the dramatic opening chords, this piece establishes itself as a hugely emotional work. It centers around the note “D” in various ways (but very rarely “in the key of”), a very personally significant key. The first movement is a highly rhythmic and energized movement that agitates the emotions and leaves the listener unresolved.
The second movement begins with a wispy and haunting melody of harmonics. The melody soaring over the stirring lower strings is meant to provide a certain amount of hope (that may not be apparent until the resolution at the end of the work). It is a melody full of love amidst chaos, and eventually brings the turmoil to order under its haunting strains.
The third movement brings a certain amount of closure to the turmoil of the previous movements. I would term this movement somewhat akin to a “fight of good and evil:” by the end, one of the voices must acquiesce to the other. Both cannot live in harmony (or can they). The listener will hear recaps from both of the previous movements (as well as a buried reference to my Duet for clarinet and piano, another personally significant piece).
I do want to express my shear gratitude to the Eppes Quartet for the fantastic premiere. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome.