adagio sostenuto (2009)

for violin, viola, 'cello, clarinet, piano
By Kyle Bartlett
American

Working on Adagio Sostenuto, writing it particularly for our 10th anniversary concert, I couldn’t help but think that it was somehow “about” counter)induction. It had to be somehow “appropriate” to the occasion—a funeral dirge wouldn’t do. But how? This was heavy on me. I didn’t want to resort to hagiography—turning the piece into a retelling of the miracles we’ve wrought in concert. I didn’t want to engage in ekphrasis (thanks Doug!)—writing about the band as if it were a distinct aesthetic object, expecting to reveal some deeper truth. Moreover, to use the words of c)i patron saint Paul Feyerabend, “…how can we possibly examine something we are using all the time? How can we analyze the terms in which we habitually express our most simple and straightforward presuppositions…” His answer? “…we cannot discover it from the inside.” But then I realized that to “do” the band—the endless stream of emails, postcard mailings, press releases, rehearsals, meetings, concerts, programming, and writing music—is to be “about” the band. The act of writing for these players is very much about who and what we are, and about our decade of experiences together. Hence the “sostenuto”—sustained textures created from countless small musical events. Hence this piece is hard-core virtuosic, loud, weird, silly, gentle, serious, beautiful, severe….very much like the 10 years of counter)induction. Thank you to Ben, Doug, Jessica, Sharon, Sumi, and our many supporters.

Other works by Kyle Bartlett:
“A gentleman brought music to his lady's window, who hated him,...and when he persisted, she threw stones at him. Whereupon a friend of his that was within his company, said to him; "What greater honour can you have to your music, than that stones come about you, as they did to Orpheus."”
--Francis Bacon