Following Franz, Now for string quartet and optional electronics (2010), ca. 15’

Scores available from Trigon Music Press

Enso String Quartet

pictured right to left

Maureen Nelson, Violin 1

John Marcus, Violin II

Melissa Reardon, Viola

Richard Belcher, Cello

photo credit: Richie Hawley

This radio interview is from The Front Row on KUHF 88.7 with host, St. John Flynn, March 26,2011.

In Following Franz, Now, the Ensō String Quartet and I proposed to Chamber Music America to write a companion piece to Franz Schubert's unfinished Quartettsatz.  While studying this work, I became fascinated by how Schubert created a large formal design from such a tiny amount of material through local and structural repetition. As I delved into the Schubert score, I wanted to see what I would find in Schubert's music that was relevant to my own.  I posed myself the challenge of staying narrowly focused on the Schubert as a referential model while making it clear that the work is of our own time.  Here are a few simple questions I asked myself as I worked: What happens when the pitch gamut outlined in the opening is widened by a single semitone? What if the primary motif is lengthened by a single sixteenth note? Can all of the harmonic materials of the new work be derived from a few choice chords of Schubert’s work?  Can a tonal framework that mirrors Schubert’s work be employed?  By imposing small changes on Schubert's original materials, I gradually developed materials of my own that were obviously linked to Schubert’s, but different.  In a sense, what results is that the new work contains a trace memory of Schubert’s original work in a new guise. 

Following Franz, Now was commissioned by the Chamber Music American Commissioning Program, with funding generously provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.  It was premiered in March 2011 by the Enso Quartet on a MUSIQA concert in Houston.