Glenn Stallcop       Composer, Performer


String Quartet No. 2 (2000)

For two violins, viola, and cello

1 Mvt., 18 Mins.


The String Quarter No. 2 is available here from American Composers Alliance.

Program Notes with Score Video

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 jeteĀ“ and col legno ideas give the ending the feel of a funeral march.

Score Video