The first of my four string quartets, though cast as a single uninterrupted form, unfolds five contrasted but internally related movements: the first, rhythmically propulsive; the second, slower and more lyrical; the third, offering cadenza-like solos; the fourth, a kind of non-melodic but sonorous projection, with the paradoxical effect of being at once rhythmically animated and yet seeming to suspend the flow of time. The fifth and final movement is a highly varied and transformed recall of the first followed by a summary ending to the entire quartet.
Receiving its first performance in 2010, the first quartet was composed in 1957. Originally conceived as part of a three-movement cycle, it remains, even after revision and expansion in 1984, “ein quartetsatz.” Long ago, in 1957, I was mostly composing dodecaphonically, but, the “fourth movement” of this quartet, in its exploratory, cross-pulse pitch iterations, anticipates personal, formative methodology that eventually coalesced in my Music for Solo Contrabass composed in 1974 for Bert Turetzky and in my string quintet, Isochronisms No. 2 of the following year.