My first string quartet, Quartetto spettrale, was
composed especially for the Essex Quartet. Cast in a single 15-minute
movement, the piece unfolds from a series of juxtaposed vignettes which
are of strongly contrasting moods. A violent opening gesture is
followed by a more elegant mood, which gives way to a lyric intensity.
The overall topic is that of the “spectral” or haunted and macabre, and
the vignettes are extended and developed into a long crescendo and
accelerando of increasing intensity near the climax of the work. While
composing the quartet I was influenced by Janacek, Ligeti, Szymanowski,
Bartók, Poe and Baudelaire.
Selected Performances of Quartetto spettrale
September 17, 1993, Essex Quartet, F&M Sound Horizon Series, Miller Recital Hall,
September 21, 1993, Essex Quartet, Nicholas Music Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ