Sappho, Pasternak, Cervantes:
Three Movements for String Quartet
The three movements in this string quartet eash focus on a different piece of literature. The first movement reflects on the Sappho fragment: As a whirlwind Swoops on an oak, Love shakes my heart. Tr. Mary Barnard The second movement focuses on one of the Zhivago poems by Boris Pasternak: I’m no more, but you’re still alive, And the wind, complaining, weeping, Sways the forest and the dacha, Not each pine tree separately, But all in their entirety, With all the boundless distances, Like the hulls of sailing ships On the smooth surface of a harbour. And it’s not out of mere bravado, Nor out of pointless fury, but So as in anguish to find words To make for you a lullaby. (Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volkhonsky) The third movement unfolds as a story-in-music, inspired by Cervantes: When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be! Cervantes (translator unknown)
Upon the Blue Guitar
Three movements for solo guitar inspired by the Wallace Stevens poem, “The Man With the Blue Guitar." Performed (so far) by Oren Fader, Petar Jankovic, Christopher Gainey, David William Ross, and Zane Merrit. The man bent over his guitar A shearsman of sorts. The day was green. They said, "You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are." The man replied, "Things as they are Are changed upon the blue guitar." And they said then, "But play, you must, A tune beyond us, yet ourselves, A tune upon the blue guitar Of things exactly as they are."