Author Topic: Three Koans for String Quartet  (Read 252 times)

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Jamie Kowalski

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Three Koans for String Quartet
« on: August 27, 2017, 07:45:14 AM »
Hi all,

Since I don't have anything new these days, I thought I'd share something old. This is a string quartet I wrote in 1989, which was recorded the following year by the Curtis Chamber Arts Soloists on the CRS label. I just looked, and it still exists out there! 

This comes from my more aggressive and dissonant phase. Hard to believe it's been 28 years since this work, since I still like it. Unfortunately, the hand-written score is not very shareable right now -- something I intend to remedy in the future. Here are the recordings of the three movements:

Three Koans
I - A Thought About KA
II - We Are Fine With Reduction
III - Ceci n'est pas une Pipe


Ron

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Re: Three Koans for String Quartet
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2017, 08:30:30 AM »
Thanks for sharing this Jamie. The discords are delicious. I really appreciate the inventiveness which is still there is your current writing.
Ron
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whitebark

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Re: Three Koans for String Quartet
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2017, 12:17:00 PM »
It's always nice to hear live performances instead of the usual synthetic renditions. After reading your warning that the music came from your "aggressive and dissonant phase", I was expecting your music to be written in a severe atonal style, but it is actually quite lyrical despite the sharp dissonances.  Thanks for posting it, Jamie.

sandalwood

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Re: Three Koans for String Quartet
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2017, 01:15:18 PM »
Totally agree! Especially the outer mvts, I felt, had fascinating and totally comprehensible lyrical narratives that made me  listen in excitement. I thought, while listening, the "hard" dissonances each found its "functional" place within that sensible narrative and were not for the sake of dissonance as we are accustomed to seeing (hearing) in hard dissonant music.

RJB54

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Re: Three Koans for String Quartet
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2017, 06:02:33 AM »
Jaime, these are excellent. Personally, I especially liked the first movement. I look forward seeing a score when you can provide one.
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.
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Jamie Kowalski

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Re: Three Koans for String Quartet
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2017, 06:30:14 AM »
Thanks for sharing this Jamie. The discords are delicious. I really appreciate the inventiveness which is still there is your current writing.
Thank you, Ron. This piece was a bit of a turning point for me. I only have a few earlier works I would ever show to anyone.

After reading your warning that the music came from your "aggressive and dissonant phase", I was expecting your music to be written in a severe atonal style...
I'll have to dig up my work for three pianos for you some day (circa 1984). Suffice it to say the textures are pretty out there. :)

Jamie Kowalski

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Re: Three Koans for String Quartet
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2017, 06:35:38 AM »
Totally agree! Especially the outer mvts, I felt, had fascinating and totally comprehensible lyrical narratives that made me  listen in excitement. I thought, while listening, the "hard" dissonances each found its "functional" place within that sensible narrative and were not for the sake of dissonance as we are accustomed to seeing (hearing) in hard dissonant music.
I guess I was mostly thinking of the second movement, especially the section starting at about 1:40. Throwing caution to the wind!

Jaime, these are excellent. Personally, I especially liked the first movement. I look forward seeing a score when you can provide one.
Thank you. I have no idea when I'll work on the score, but maybe that would be a good side project for me.

By the way, I showed the first movement to a violinist friend when trying to find a group to perform this. She asked me "Can I take this section down an octave?"  :-X :-\ :'( 8) :o ::) :angel:

Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: Three Koans for String Quartet
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2017, 03:36:04 PM »
I can't add anything better than a "Me, too!".  I was expecting something pretty jarring.  Instead, everything fit well and was enjoyable.  Good work!