My Oboe Quartet was commissioned by the Society for Chamber Music Rochester for its 40th Anniversary Season. I knew at the outset that my piece would be programmed alongside the Mozart Oboe Quartet, a fact which influenced my process from the beginning. I structured the outline of the form as an homage to Mozart’s piece—it’s in three movements that follow a fast-slow-fast structure. The materials of my piece are wholly my own, however, creating a dialogue with Mozart’s sound world. The first movement, for example, features a section where scratchy sul ponticello string harmonics and oboe multiphonics meld together to create a distorted texture, dissolving into “pure sound”.
A few other references to capital-C classical music entered the piece: the second movement is titled “lament: hommage á J.S. Bach”, and features a descending bass line that repeats in a chaconne-like manner, and the third movement includes a quotation of part of the first movement of Beethoven’s Harp Quartet, Op. 74.
I am very grateful to the SCMR for commissioning this piece and to its members for their generous spirit, support, and for beautifully premiering the work in April 2017.