String Quartet #1 [14']
String Quartet #1 explores relationships between what at first appear to be completely unrelated—even opposite—musical ideas and emotional states. The work begins with the statement of a contemplative, chant-like figure in the cello answered snidely by a taunting phrase in the second violin. The work continues to explore a varied psychological landscape through such confrontations, gradually revealing close intuitive connections among the contrasting phrases. In fact, by the time those original motives which seemed so antithetical at the beginning, return at the Quartet’s close, they seem intimately mated, intrinsically paired.
“String Quartet #1 … frames a musical idea that becomes in its achievement emblematic of extra-musical experiences. Two ideas are placed in immediate confrontation (one contemplative and slow; the other bubbly and impish). Throughout the one movement of the work, these two ideas compete and challenge each other as they work toward a kind of “mating” as Wallach says, in which they become integrated without totally losing their individuality. It is a charming idea, and charmingly and lucidly realized.”
—Don Mager, Making Time, Eclectica.org July/Aug 2002