Instrumentation: standard string quartet (2 Violins, 1 Viola, 1 'Cello).
For this piece, I wanted a more imaginative title than simply, "String Quartet," and, given my love of silly puns, I felt that "Bow Jest" would do nicely. (Hey, the members of the Brentano String Quartet loved my title!) The first movement is my first attempt at a Theme and Variations structure. After a brief introuduction of cell manipulation, the theme is presented in its entirety by the viola, then fragmented by the other instruments.
In the second movement, I experimented with the extended technique of letting the performers tap on their instruments with their bows, thus providing a percussive backdrop for the melodic material. Like my "Trumpet Celebration," this piece is organic. Variations on the motif which opens the second movement appear in the third, giving the piece a certain unity. (I also repeat the percussive effects in the third movement.)
I considered giving the third movement the title of "A Canon Ball." The reason is that the movement is in 3/4 time, and is written as a canon (the technique of imitation is employed.) This movement is similar to "Trumpet Celebration in that the melody is formed by presenting the prime of a pitch class followed by its retrograde.
"Bow Jest" was a finalist in the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards for the year 2000.
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