Composer’s Program notes for “IQ for Strings”
“I Q (Intrada and Quodlibet) for Strings,” was written for the University of Akron String Orchestra in the fall of 2013. Originally, only the Quodlibet was composed. This is a somewhat ‘tongue-in-cheek’ movement which uses the gravitas and seriousness of a double fugue as scaffolding for a rather whimsical mixture of musical quotes. In addition to stylized melodies reminiscent of gypsy ‘Roma’ fiddle music, one can hear the “Dies Irae” chant, the Russian Hopak dance, a not-so-subtle hint of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, and an entire passage from Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony permeating the grand structure of the fugue at one point or another. The inspiration for all of this was the wonderful Quodlibet that J. S. Bach composed to close out his Goldberg Variations. Having completed the Quodlibet, I felt the need for a more balanced musical structure—not unlike the pairing of the prelude and fugue in Baroque music. So, I added the complementary Intrada, which serves to introduce one of the fugue subjects used in the Quodlibet. The inspiration for the slow and monolithic Intrada was the mesmerizing and cumulative opening of Henryk Gorecki’s celebrated 3rd Symphony, which I’d been listening to just days earlier. The Intrada serves to ground and anchor the wild ride that is the Quodlibet.