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Motio (2015)

for string quartet
duration: 16 min.
Commissioned by the South Bay Chamber Music Society
Premiered by the Fiato Quartet (April 24/26, 2015)


I. Floor it
II. Slo-Mo
III. Rewind – Forward

Motio is a study of motion. The work grows out of a single movement piece for string quartet that I wrote last summer called Go. It was inspired by the art of racing, and it is very buoyant and fast. I knew there was more to explore with the material after completing the original piece, so I decided to develop it.

Movement I (Floor it) is a revised and expanded version of Go.
Movement II (Slo-Mo) takes its name from the iPhone’s slow-motion video recording feature, allowing me to express a sense of timelessness. Its principal material comes from a chord progression found in the first movement.
Movement III (Rewind – Forward) is based on the juxtaposing of two chords from the first movement, and creates a highly dissonant and extreme sound. The piece begins, and 1/4 of the way through the movement, rewinds itself and presents the same material in retrograde motion (backward). Once it returns to the very first chord of the movement, it takes off again and moves forward. As movement III evolves, the material becomes suddenly more tonal. A final upbeat section emerges, and the piece ends in a playful manner.

Motio is dedicated to the South Bay Chamber Music Society.