Program Note for Cycles and Myths (mixed quartet, 1996)


Cycles and Myths was commissioned by the SOLI chamber ensemble and premiered in March of 1996 in San Antonio.  This piece presents a number of cyclic ideas that occur with literal and varied repetition. Connections are made between the individual players of the ensemble through similarities of timbre and gesture.  A driving, rhythmic theme begins the work and coordinates all the motives assigned to each player in each cycle.  The myths, which occur between cycles, are essentially character variations where each soloist stakes their own musical territory and presents material specifically assigned to their instrument.  In this way, connections are made between repetition (cycles) and development (myths), between recognition and contrast.  This work also contains many references - both through quotation and imitation - to other works with this instrumentation.  These distinct musical styles are heard against the backdrop of cycles of similarity.