Interstices – String Quartet (composed 1984, performed 1993)

“Interstices” had its origin in a chart I wrote for the first incarnation of Antigravity, which included all the basic ingredients: a seven-beat vamp, a twisted melody in a Phrygian Maj7 scale, and the superimposition of 6-beat groups on the 7-beat structure to create a 42-beat cross-rhythm. But I feel that the full realization of these ideas was only made possible by the quartet format.

I composed the string quartet score of “Interstices” in 1984 on a visit to New Paltz, NY. The project was originally undertaken as a project for Mimi Rabson’s R.E.S.Q. (Really Eclectic String Quartet), which played it in a recording session before I left for India the first time in 1985.

The version for RESQ was through-composed for their unusual orchestration of 3 violins and bass. Their version sounded great and was the only recorded rendition for many years. In 1990 I assembled a “New Ensemble Music” concert and prepared the piece for performance by 2 violins, viola, and bass — but the woman who was to play 2nd violin disappeared 10 days before the concert and never returned, and it wound up being performed as a trio.

In 1993 I put together another “New Ensemble Music” concert, and this time I got lucky. John Styklunas was playing bass, and he brought his colleague Steve Garrett in on ‘cello; I rewrote the viola part for ‘cello, and I think it sounds great that way. Teresa Marrin and Tomoko Iwamoto did a great job on both violins. There is no distinction between first and second fiddles in terms of the complexity or ranking of the parts.

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