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Oblique Light

    CHAMBER MUSIC string quartet
    2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello

    Duration: ca. 12 minutes
    Composed: 2016

    Programme Note: Oblique Light was commissioned by the Penderecki String Quartet for their 2016/17 concert season.  It was written to honour Canada’s sesquicentennial year.

    Canada is geographically huge with a relatively small population.  It spans from Atlantic to Pacific to Arctic.  As part of a military family, I was lucky enough to live in many different parts of the country, moving every three years throughout my childhood. 

    For this quartet, I concentrated on how we experience light in a Northern climate.  It can be in sharp focus or very nebulous.  It can even be almost absent during short winter days or severe summer storms.  If you are standing on the open prairie on a summer day, the sunlight is sharp and intense; if you are in the mountains on powder snow with the sun reflecting off, the light is blinding; if you are looking up through the leaves of an old-growth forest, the light is diffused; if you are looking through the spray of ocean’s waves, or river’s rapids, the light is hazy.  Ice makes light bend in unusual ways.  This is all part of my Canadian experience, and I hope will continue to be.

    Premiere: First performance in Mexico City, November 6, 2016.


    Kelly-Marie Murphy, composer