performed by the JACK Quartet on May 1, 2011 at the Frederick Loewe Theater at NYU’s Steinhardt School
Ari Streisfeld, violin; Christopher Otto, violin; John Pickford Richards, viola; Kevin McFarland, cello
An open system in physics is one that is available for interaction with its environment. It has a great potential for change and reaction.
This piece is structured to depict atoms and their whirling electrons being affected by an increase in energy, like an object being heated by an outside source. Rhythmic and harmonic groupings represent atoms, which interact with each other differently depending on their electric charge. As electrons jump between energy orbitals in distinct stages, sound waves produce harmonics in distinct ratio relationships. Most of the notes in this piece are derived from the open strings and their partials.
Metaphorical open systems are present as well: each string instrument, complete in itself but effected by its three companions, the artist in continuous interaction with his or her environment, and a piece of music available for constant interpretation and reinterpretation by its audience. Throughout the piece the harmony of a dominant seventh chord with the fourth scale degree substituted for the fifth is used.