QUARTET: SHE WROTE


Movements:
I. What She Saw II. What She Did III. How She Felt IV. And Then

Instrumentation:
String quartet

Duration: 20 minutes

Commissioned By:
The Cassatt String Quartet in celebration of their twentieth anniversary with funds provided by the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and is a Meet The Composer Commissioning Music/USA commission. Quartet: She Wrote was commissioned as part of the national series of works from Meet The Composer Commissioning Music/USA, which is made possible by generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Helen F. Whitaker Fund, and the Target Foundation.

Premiere:
June 10, 2008 by the Cassatt String Quartet at The Seal Bay Festival, Vinalhaven, ME

Available From:
Libby Larsen Publishing

Composer's Notes:
Quartet: She Wrote is inspired by a passage from James Joyce’s Ulysses.

"Solitary Hotel in mountain pass. Autumn. Twilight. Fire lit. In dark corner young man seated. Young woman enters. Restless. Solitary. She sits. She goes to window. She stands. She sits. Twilight. She thinks. On solitary paper she writes. She thinks. She writes. She sighs. Wheels and hoofs. She hurries out" (James Joyce, Ulysses [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1922], 637).

The four sections of this quartet correspond with Joyce’s narrative by imagining music for what occurs between these five sentences: “She thinks. She writes. She sighs. Wheels and hoofs. She hurries out.”  In other words, where Joyce pares down his words to stark noun/verb sentences, I accept the creative invitation to imagine what might be happening in and around the noun/verb. I responded musically to the fact of “she” writing by imagining not what she wrote but instead by imagining her creative energy/emotion as she wrote.

Imagine yourself as “she”.  Imagine the solitary paper.  Imagine picking up the pen.  Imagine this:

(She thinks)............................................. I. What She Saw
(She writes)............................................. II. What She Did
(She sighs).............................................. III. How She Felt
(Wheels and hoofs. She hurries out)...... IV. And Then

— Libby Larsen