CHAMBER MUSIC string quartet
2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello
Duration: ca. 15 minutes
Programme Note: This is My Voice for string quartet is a programmatic work initially inspired by a Leonard Cohen poem by the same name. The essence of the piece, and I believe of the poem as well, is that even when we speak in whispers we can say important and provocative things, and that soft voices should not be dismissed or shouted down.
Musically, I explored this thesis throughout the four movements of the piece. Each movement begins with a solo recitative for each of the four instruments in turn, and are all related to each other in character and content. In the first three movements, this soft lyrical quality of the solo is usurped suddenly by frantic activity of varying levels of intensity. The fast music is always a fairly static exploration of one repetitive, and limited idea. Each instrument is saying roughly the same thing, but they rarely agree on it, or communicate directly with one another. Finally in the fourth movement, the quiet reflective quality of the solo is embraced by all four instruments, and, like a good conversation, there are moments of static as well as dynamic communication.
Ending with such an exhalation of energy is somewhat of a risk musically, especially when it is preceded by intentionally aggravated music. It was however, important for me to follow the thesis to its logical conclusion, and if anything I think it proves the point: the whisper can conquer the scream.
“Nothing comes from nothing.”; every artist is a reflection of their experience and influence. I am grateful for the entire body of quartet literature that inspired me to create this piece.
Premiere: First performance by Quatuor Arthur-LeBlanc, Capitol Theatre, Moncton, November 6, 1994
Prizes/Awards: winner: CBC Young Composer’s 1994, 2nd prize Maryland Composer’s Competition 1998
Recording(s): Recorded by Quatuor Arthur-LeBlanc on the Fonovox label – Vox 7931-2