Quartet for oboe and strings

Quartet for oboe and strings

(2011), 18′

Commissioned by the LaSalle and Taft Foundations for the Entheon Quartet

Performed by the Entheon Quartet (members of the Cincinnati Symphony) at the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH, May 2011.

Program note:

In contrast to its admittedly prosaic title, this piece contains music that is vividly pictorial. The first movement describes my first attempt at skiing: the visceral thrill, the attempts to keep my balance (some successful, some not), the many spills, and the progressively longer runs as my skills improved. The second movement employs the concept of variation in two senses. First, it is a more or less traditional set of variations on two themes, cast in a Classical style. Over this framework, though, another type of variation occurs simultaneously—the musical style itself increasingly warps and distorts as the movement progresses. At the climactic point, Classical style finally disintegrates completely, and we are transported to an entirely different musical world. Near the end, the style of the opening attempts to reassert itself, but we find that a complete return to the former way of thinking is impossible.


1. Ski Lesson
2. Psychedelic Variations