String Quartet #2 ("Wings of Stone")
2 violins, viola, cello
The main idea from this piece came from a description of a three-tiered polychord in Thomas Mann's novel, "Dr. Faustus." The title is from a line from "Danger Bird," a Neil Young song whose chord progression I borrowed once I realized it incorporated the elements of the "Dr. Faustus" chord . The idea for the near-constant 16th-notes in the violins came form the opening guitar riff in Rush's "The Spirit of Radio." For the slow middle section, my aim was to write melodic lines formed entirely of quarter-notes (many of them quite high). It's a tricky piece that has been performed well a few times, such as in the video below by Tenth Intervention.