From Amber Frozen
for String Quartet
Approximate Duration: 15'
This quartet forms itself gradually, growing its melodic and textural ideas at an evolutionary pace É a rose-colored world as if viewed by an insect from the Jurassic, forever sealed in a crystal of dried amber on a tree.
So the ensemble hatches from its shell in embryonic form, a lopsided groove of plucked out-of-tune notes and woody rustlings, with bell-like sustained notes foreshadowing the coming melody. This texture of shattered lines that weave in and out of each other is as much informed by today's electronica as it is from Indonesian gamelon - all passed through the prism of the string quartet's rich and varied textures.
As the ensemble evolves from rhythmic pointillism to more sustained lines, a melody asserts itself. This lyrical urge very gradually infects the group, melting the crystalline beats into warmer, more emotive thoughts - and by the work's center, the core of animal warmth has succeeded in fusing the shattered lines of the opening into a single lyrical expression. The long-lined melody that follows reaches its expressive peak at the exact moment that the work begins to devolve, as bowed lines become dancing, detuned grooves dispersed throughout the group. By the work's end, it has morphed well-beyond full-circle - having returned to its initial rhythmic space, it ultimately loses pitch altogether.