String Quartet No. 3, Una corda
2 violins, viola, cello
This quartet is a lyrical experiment and a pun. It asks the players to play—as much as is practical—on only one string: una corda. The piano has an una corda pedal, which moves the dampers to allow only one string to be struck. Transferring the idea to string instruments, the first movement of this work is played on each instrument’s lowest string, the G (for violin) or C (viola and cello). Movement II is played the middle two strings. The final movement uses only the highest string. It’s an old idea, recalling the monochord, the first string instrument.
Composition of this work was supported in part by the American Composers Forum through the 2013 McKnight Composer Fellowship Program. This work was composed as part of a May, 2015 residency at the Montalvo Center for the Arts, Saratoga, California.