String Quartet No. 4: The Infinite Sphere (2009)

Taking 17th-century philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal’s reference to an “infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere” as a starting point, String Quartet No. 4: The Infinite Sphere taps the potentials of Classical circular forms and techniques – in particular rondo form and canonical rounds – to explore the expressive tension between the coherence of the sphere and the chaos of infinity.  The result is a two-movement rondo structure (ABAC-ABA) in which all of the surface details reflect the wheels-within-wheels form:

I. ROUND: The Infinite Sphere

RONDO: Spinning Dizzy
ROUND: Nocturne
RONDO: Circular Fugue

II. ROUND: Devotion

RONDO: Spinning Reckless
ROUND: The Infinite Sphere

String Quartet No. 4: The Infinite Sphere, running twenty-two minutes, was commissioned by the Daedalus Quartet and the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts. It was premiered by the Daedalus String Quartet at Wolf Trap in January 2010, with further performances in Philadelphia, Winston-Salem and New York.