Sketchbook, five short movements for string quartet,
was composed in the winter of 1998. I was deeply inspired
at that time by the idea of outer space, and began reading
relatively simple books (Stephen Hawking's A Brief History
of Time and The Birth of the Universe by Trinh
Xuan Thuan) on astrophysics, trying to find some clue as
to why there are billions of galaxies whirling around the
infinite void of space like grit in some colossal, cosmic
named the five movements Swirling Galaxies, Constellations,
Space, Time, and The Astral Expanse, respectively.
The first, third, and fifth movements are slow, and while
they are different from each other, they also share a common
thread of sound through the use of artificial harmonics.
The inner movements are faster and more rhythmically driven.
do not have much faith in musics ability to concretely
communicate pictures, images of objects, places, or circumstance,
and these pieces are not intended to illustrate the
phenomena for which they are named. It would perhaps be more
accurate to say that they are an attempt to capture the feelings
of awe, wonder, and profound exasperation that accompanied
my all too brief wanderings through books on cosmology.