CHAMBER MUSIC string quartet
2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello
Duration: ca. 10 minutes
Published by Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag, Leipzig
Programme Note: We live in a cosmologically interesting time. First, Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet reducing our solar system to 8 planets. Then, an ancient cosmic mystery came to light. Apparently, five billion years ago, there was a sudden expansion of the cosmos. The galaxies started moving away from one another at a faster pace, as if repelled by some kind of antigravity. Recently, a group of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope observed that billions of years before this antigravity sent the galaxies flying apart, it was already present in space and affecting the evolution of the cosmos. This antigravity force is known as dark energy.
The existence of dark energy was first postulated by Einstein in 1917 as a way to explain why the universe doesn’t collapse. In November 2006, the New York Times explained it this way:
“Because it is a property of empty space, the overall force of Einstein’s constant grows in proportion to the expanding universe until it overwhelms everything.”
Dark Energy was commissioned by the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the CBC as the imposed piece for 2007. In a single movement, the quartet opens softly and simply.
It is melodic and displays many different colours using various techniques. It gains momentum and is eventually consumed by its own propulsion. The piece is virtuosic in every way, yet there are flexible moments in which each performance can be different.
Premiere: First performance in Banff, August 31, 2007
Score Excerpt [PDF]