CHAMBER MUSIC string quartet
2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello
Duration: ca. 15 minutes
Programme Note: We have centuries of literature, art, and music created from a belief that passion, desire, and even personality come from the heart. That is, emotion is ‘heart felt’, we can have a ‘true heart’ or ‘wear our hearts on our sleeve’, and we can suffer a ‘broken heart’. Modern medicine has quite a different point of view. The scope of the scientific description of the heart has grown beyond biology and now includes chemistry, physics, chaos theory, and more.
Each of the four movements of the quartet is a snapshot from one of these two extremes. The outer movements deal with the intangible: the idea that love, loss, and passion are truly governed or felt by the heart. The fast inner movements are more clinical: the physical realities affecting the heart such as adrenalin, palpitations, high blood pressure.
This piece was commissioned by CBC Radio Music for the Alcan Quartet. The title alludes to a Janis Joplin hit, where she sings ‘Take It! Take another little piece of my heart now baby…’
Premiere: First performance by the Alcan String Quartet, May 5 1999
Score Excerpt [PDF]