Pas-de-Quatre

for flute, percussion, violin, and cello (2015)

Pas-de-Quatre was inspired by Igor Stravinsky’s Agon (1957), and the idea of a contest between players in an ensemble. The word ‘agon’ literally means contest or struggle, and in Pas-de-Quatre I attempt to create a contest between two pairs of instruments: flute & percussion, and violin & cello. The piece begins with a fanfare-like introduction where the two pairs prepare for the inevitable contest. After the introduction the violin and cello attempt to play quietly and beautifully, but are interrupted by the flute and percussion interjections. This leads to the first confrontation, a war-like interplay of driving, aggressive rhythms. The first confrontation ends and the flute and percussion play alone. But soon enough the violin and cello interject, leading to the final confrontation between the pairs.

Premiered April 7, 2015 at The University of Texas at Austin by Marley Eder (flute), Morgan Tao (percussion), Sara Sasaki (violin), and James Burch (cello). Conducted by Brandon Clinton.

 

In October 2015, the contemporary ensemble¬†Hear No Evil performed the sextet version of this piece. Watch a video of Hear No Evil performing ‘Pas-de-Six’