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for string quartet with electronics
commissioned by the Penderecki String Quartet
duration: 20 minutes 45 seconds
Often, I wake up in the predawn hours, tune the radio to the news, and drift back to sleep. Later, when I wake up, I remember the sounds of vivid dreams inspired by a mix of half-heard news reports and things bouncing around in my unconscious. This composition, "Lacan," is built around both the broadcast sounds of political posturing on Sept. 11, 2006 — the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks — and on recordings from my life of the same time. The string quartet often takes on the melodic shapes and rhythmic contours of these recorded words as motivic material. Alternately, it plays something entirely different: an off-beat ragtime that seems less motivated by external matters. Even when imitative, the combination of music and language is rarely simple congruence, and that relationship enacts a kind of ‘dream-work’, which explores the ways in which (after Lacan) music is structured like a dream. In homage to this icon of contemporary psychoanalytic thought, the composition is framed by a reference to Jacques Lacan.
February 13, 2007
February 16, 2007
July 22, 2008