Diversions (2016) 12'

bagatelles for string quartet

 

The first movement of this piece, All Together Now, was originally written as part of a 48-hour composition marathon sponsored by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The fantastic string quartet in residence, Thalea String Quartet, played it with such aplomb that I wrote four more bagatelles to accompany the first. This piece is dedicated to them.

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While writing the rest of the piece, I was very much inspired by the brief and whimsical vignettes of Erik Satie’s Sports et divertissements. Subsequently, this quartet is a depiction of five short, picturesque moments or activites—perhaps, in this way, it also finds kinship with Poulenc’s droll and beautiful song cycle, Banalités.

 

1. All Together Now. Halftime at a sporting event.
2.
Swipe-Serenade. Modern romance, smartphone in hand. The players pluck and swipe their strings. A brief serenade

      emerges from the texture.

3. Another Hundred People. A reference to the famed Sondheim song, but viewed from a telescope; an aerial view of

      Manhattan.
4.
Civil Discourse. A skimming of the comments section.

5. Departure. A quiet, meditative still-life.

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