The String Quartet No. 2 (2000) is one of the pieces I wrote during a period of what I consider the culmination of my efforts to forge compositions from the model and suggestions of keyboard improvisations. Culmination in the sense that I had been working toward this goal rather single-mindedly for roughly twenty-five years. Though I was achieving the vision I had foreseen, I also felt that classical music had, in the meantime, gone a different direction. This tempered any feeling of accomplishment I was feeling and infused it with a sense of irony.
This feeling of irony pervades the string quartet. Initially, I compared it to that span of mild weather that sometimes occurs in the late fall or early winter. The weather always seems to bring a feeling of goodwill and hope. Sometimes, plants will even bud or flower, thinking that Spring is coming early, but Winter always storms back with a vengeance. The bitter cold always seems harsher because of the preceding mild weather. This was the nature of the unusual emotional irony I was experiencing.
The work proceeds in a single movement, though there is a clear break at just about the center point. The “A” material is characterized by repeated sixteenth notes, while the B sections feature a slow descending major second. There are other binding forces, such as the pizzicato music, but the two alternating contrasting ideas constitute the bulk of the piece. A center section, which sounds like a choral lament, follows the center break. This gradually leads back to the repeating notes. The coda section features the B material, but the percussive jete´ and col legno ideas give the ending the feel of a funeral march.