String Quartet No. 3 (1965, rev. 1992)
for String Quartet
Duration: 24 min.
Dedication: to Carole
Recording: Albany TROY210
Premiere: 1993; Ad Hoc Quartet; Madison, WI
While virtually all my music may be thought of as neo-romantic in character, if not always in syntax, String Quartet No. 3 of 1965 may represent the clearest such example. Accordingly there is considerable expressive range, both within each movement and overall, as well as an unabashed willingness to write melodies that are songful and intense.
While there is no true “slow movement,” the character quickens as the music progresses from the brooding of the first movement to the exuberance of the third. If this sounds overly predictable, one should note that the middle parts of each movement provide some balancing contradictions. In particular, the second movement has outer sections in fairly light 6/8 meter, but a middle section in a heavier, rustic irregular count (9/8 = 2+2+2+3) which may suggest dance rhythms in ethnic music from such places as Yugoslavia or Brazil. The middle section of the third movement is actually the slowest music in the whole work; the middle section of the first is among the fastest. I suppose honesty requires that I report the first movement is in a bona fide sonata form, replete with “official” pitch-center relationships. I don’t know if this is worthy of praise or blame.
When I revised this quartet in 1992, it was shortened by some six minutes; but at 24 minutes, it still ranks as my longest. Otherwise, the revision mainly involved some internal countermelodies and changes in phrasing, though the 9/8 middle section of the second movement is entirely new. (Notes by Arnold Rosner)