Last modified 6 July 2015

String Quartet, 1961

by Roger Reynolds

During a summer at Tanglewood in the early 1960s, I had the great good fortune to interact with a collection of remarkable young performers sponsored by new music philanthropist, Paul Fromm. Among them was a string quartet that took its name –  Lenox String Quartet – from the nearby town. The prospect of writing a work for such a dynamic and skilled ensemble was enormously attractive, particularly as we had all heard their fascinating workshop on the Schoenberg String Trio (with interactive commentary from Roberto Gerhard) as a part of that summer’s composition program.

Alain Resnais’s classic Hiroshima mon amour, had been released the year before, and I had been stunned by the impact of its intercutting between French and Japanese locales. I decided to attempt a similar structure for my music, a succession of intercut fragments, one series becoming progressively abbreviated, while its complement was growing more elongated.

– Roger Reynolds