String Quartet 1999 [14']
During the course of its two movements, between its opening elegiac duet and the four players’ communal closing, Joelle Wallach’s String Quartet 1999 unveils a vivid inner universe. Its epigram, taken from a poem by Delmore Schwartz, “In the slight ripple, the mind perceives the heart,” suggests the nature of the music’s emotional progress: beneath soaring melodies, tiny rivulets of melodic material merge and gather, forming ever new, rushing rivers of personal passion. A poignant tenderness gives way to agitation, terror, yearning, hope and transcendence. Twice, a brave, heavy-footed little dance prickly with the bravura slapstick of responsive, swooping portamenti interrupts; and twice it is subsumed into the work’s overarching, darker texture.
String Quartet 1999 was commissioned by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music for the Muir Quartet.