No. 50 Shadings (2011)
For string quartet and sinewaves
Commissioned by Bozzini Quartet, with financial support from the Netherlands Fund for the Performing Arts

Info/Program Note:
As is the case for nearly all of my recent works, Shadings is written in three parts of exactly uniform length (6' each, give or take a few seconds). Each part is subsequently filled with a different amount of information. In this way, the first concerns itself with upward motion, the second with downward motion and the third with the approaching of a central point from both sides. All three parts drop a notch in register.

Clear as this process may be, the sound world however seems to revolve entirely around an attempt to block out any direct sunlight. In many ways this 'obscuring' dictates the piece. Whether in a preference for harmonics over direct pitches, or in the form of chords sliding into one another slightly out of focus (pt. I), chords immediately sliding away from their source (pt. II), or in the form of attacks focusing entirely on their own 'aftertone', while moving in and out of rhythmic unison (pt. III) - most of the attention in Shadings goes out to subtle gradations in the way sounds and tempo are approached. In this way, the harmonies of the string quartet work as a kind of veil, drawing a smokescreen between the source (the sinewaves) and its reflection (the string quartet).

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score sample