Duration - 11'
Instrumentation - String quartet
"S Is" for string quartet is a series of small pieces for string quartet that start with S's, all based on gestural ideas suggested by their titles.
I. "Switch" - pizzicato gestures toggle adjacent players between two different states of playing, fast and clean or slow and ugly. As the movement progresses, players fight more and more for control of the ensemble (with
disastrous consequences by the end).
II. "Subvert" - attempts to set up audience expectations based around a violin glissando gesture and then subverts them.
III. "Smash/Stretch" - alternates between two types of material, one slow and another fast & rhythmically driven. Over the course of the piece the slow material is compressed in pitch and sped up, eventually becoming smashed
into a single point. This occurs in alternation with elongations of the fast material which becomes softer and colder as it expands, like the behavior of gas particles bouncing around under increasingly lower pressure.
IV. "Spin" - presents a fast canon where material is quickly passed around verbatim in a circle between members of the ensemble. Other parameters besides pitch (dynamics, timbre, etc) are thrown into the mix before the rate of
spinning itself is manipulated.
Connected to the gestural language of the piece and the often programmatic pace at which it unfolds, theatrics and humor pervade each of the four "S's" in "S Is". They should wear their hearts on their sleeves, hopefully funny and
interesting in equal measure.
This piece won first prize in Division II of Tribeca New Music's 2021 Young Composer Competition.
Violin I - William Mayhew
Violin II - Kylie Dickinson
Viola - Charles Kanne
Cello - Chris Santos