for string quartet

Program notes:

This composition is a recollection of summer evenings of long ago spent gazing at the heavens. I particularly remember an entire night occupied with observing the constellations Scorpio and Sagittarius as they ascended in the southeast and slowly processed along their celestial arcs to cross the meridian and then to disappear in the mists of the southwest horizon. It was a particularly clear night and the Milky Way, with its thousands of distant stars, provided an especially rich background for the constellation Sagittarius.

Music theorists will not find much new in this piece to write about. The piece is in the form of an arch with five sections (the first and last sections have much in common, as do the second and fourth sections). Conventional techniques of development, such as inversion and augmentation, have been used extensively, particularly in the middle section. The pattern of the pizzicato accompaniment in the middle section was composed with the assistance of my Macintosh Plus computer, using the stochastic sequence generator of the Opcode MIDIMAC Sequencer 2.5 program. The score and parts were prepared on a Macintosh Plus running the Professional Composer music notation software by Mark of the Unicorn.

The piece was commissioned by Miami University for its quartet-in-residence, the Oxford String Quartet. The premiere performance occurred in Hall Auditorium at Miami University on June 13, 1987. The performance from which this recording was made was presented by the Oxford Quartet on November 11, 1990 in Wellin Hall at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.

duration: approximately 6' 20"

Click here to visit COMPOSERVER (the Streaming-Audio/Video Archive of the Society of Composers, Inc.) and hear a RealAudio rendition of a performance of this piece by the Oxford Quartet.
Click here to hear a 73 second audio clip (mp3 file, 1139 K) of a performance by the Clinton String Quartet.

Click here for a free download of the sheet music.

Biographical information about the composer can be found here.

Sagittarius in Transit published by the Continental Music Press.
copyright 1987 the Continental Music Press. All Rights Reserved.
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