(string quartet no. 2)

for string quartet


24 minutes


violins (2); viola and cello

Year Composed:  


Written For:            
Borromeo String Quartet

Commissioned By:

Koussevitzky Music Foundation
for the Borromeo String Quartet

Premiere Performance:

Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival

The Borromeo String Quartet:
Nicholas Kitchenm violin
Kristopher Tong, violin
Mai Motobuchi, viola
Yeesun Kim, cello

Program Notes:

String Quartet no. 2 – “Hope Cycles”, in one movement, focus on the endless war between Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East from the small person’s point of view. As an Israeli myself, I always find it hard to explain to European /American people where is the real tragedy, the one of the individual person – not the one behind the “selected” pictures one sees on the TV screen or see in any other media. 

The music describes the fear, hate, anger, love, remorse, the claustrophobic and uncertain feeling of being under daily attack (no matter in what side one is.) I believe that without the hope for a real peaceful solution and for better life things would have been much worse – the hope, is what keeps people alive. Yet, between one hopeful chapter to another the reality hits once more – more innocent victims die and more families are being destroyed, on a daily basis. Most of the stories of these individual victims never reach the international media, who ironically enough look only for “big numbers.”  

The viola, represents such an individual, who faces reality on its cruel side. Hoping, lamenting, loving, tendering, and accepting the sad reality. . . . The quartet is built of connected sections, which represent the occurring brutal fate as well as the fate’s acceptation as a natural part of life, the emotional whirlpools, the instability, the fighting, the lamenting emotion, the distanced and cold emotion, the hope, the disillusion, the farewell and the reoccurring destiny, moving on to the next victim.  

There are few short thematic fragments and motives which are repeated in different variations to create a stronger emotional feeling towards the end of the quartet. Some of these short motives include half scale of the Arabic “Maqam Hijaz”, as well as short fragments from Jewish Music. Funny enough, both motives are aurally and historically close related. Even though the subject is highly charged, I decided to restrain the emotional level of expression, so in many cases, except few short emotional bursts, one will perceive a somewhat cold, filtered expression, as if seeing a show from behind a glass. String Quartet no. 2 – “Hope Cycles” was written for Borromeo String Quartet, The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress and dedicated to the memory of Serge and Natalie Koussevitzky.