STRING QUARTET NO. I
Premiered December 4th, 2019
The piece is titled “Exhibition” because it is all about three works of art that I’ve recently learned about. The first one is Matthäus Merian’s depiction of Ezekiel’s vision (1670), The second is Nicolas Poussin’s painting, entitled A Dance to the Music of Time (1634–1636). The final one is Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s The Calling of Saint Matthew (1599-1600). They have these themes of magical realism, religion, adventure, surrealism, and realism. Though they may not correlate, I want to present these pieces as I discovered them, together.
The first movement begins with dense chords, representing a clouded sky, the twisting progressions and disorienting rhythms represent the mirage of the Ophanim angel that Ezekiel saw in the sky. Towards the end of the piece returns these dense chords, slowly descending. The next movement is a fast, whimsical dance, it is very virtuosic and a bit chaotic at times, as the middle section ends, it explodes into a tearful chorale, slowly calming, before the main interrupts. The movement ends gradually growing into chaos. The final movement is the story of the calling of St. Matthew, with the cello playing the part of Jesus, and the violins and viola playing St. Matthew and the other men in the painting. It begins with a lonely melody that develops into a dirge, which is slowly decaying when the cello suddenly bursts through the silence, causing excitement. The piece then explores an adventurous theme, introduced by the cello, which represents Jesus telling Matthew to follow him.