Four-Stringed Voice: Descriptions of the Pieces
Night in the Roof Garden: Inspired by a friend's garden on her Philadelphia roof, this piece evokes a feeling of sensuous mystery. Moonflower introduces the garden, with its seductive night-blooming flowers, their sweet fragrances floating in the wind. Mothdance portrays a moth dancing in its flight among the flowers and fluttering obsessively about the garden lanterns. Indigo Sky evokes the feeling of relaxing in this beautiful garden, looking out at the stars and the twinkling city lights. There are hints of the blues - in resonance with the indigo blue of the sky.
Joie communicates joie de vivre through an energetic dance that is mostly in 7/8 time.
Chant takes a simple melodic idea through different harmonic possibilities, embroidering the chant-like melody with arpeggiated chords.
Sonata, inspired by Bach's and Bartok's sonatas for solo violin, is in four movements: Expansion, Fugue, Tango scordatura and Bariolage. All movements simulate multiple voices through the use of chords. Expansion has a calm melodious quality along with its chordal dissonances. Fugue is athletic and dramatic. Tango scordatura uses the alternate tuning of EDAE, extending the range of the violin to a sultry low E. Bariolage is a perpetual motion piece and contains a section employing the same bowing pattern as Bach's Partita No. 3 Preludio.
Based on the song of a Wood Thrush, Woodthrush's Question playfully improvises on the bird's call, making use of various showy violin techniques such as ricochet, left-hand pizzicato and arpeggios across three or four strings. It ends with a passage of tonal arpeggios, a happy human response to hearing the bird in the forest.
Naïve Little Pieces are miniatures each exploring a simple musical idea or sound. Some techniques included in these little pieces are playing behind the bridge, tapping on the violin's body, natural and artificial harmonics. Again, birdcalls serve as a source of inspiration.
Attunement is a piece in three sections: a drone-based "call to prayer," a haunting melody floating on a bed of sul ponticello arpeggios, and a lively folk-style dance. The violin is given a ringing resonance by tuning it FCFC, which is called a "cross-tuning" in fiddle traditions.
Soliloquy contemplatively explores the heights and depths of the violin's range. It is an atonal, melodic meditation. The piece uses slides to gracefully connect large leaps and pizzicato for dramatic punctuation.