For string quartet:
“White Apples” is loosely based on the poem of the same name by Donald Hall, wherein a young boy is awakened in the night by a knocking at his door the week after his father’s death. Like the poem, the composition explores the concepts of sleeping, awakening, death, and change.
Mvt. 1: Incognizance
“White Apples” opens with harmonic and rhythmic ambiguity reflecting the incoherent, incomprehensible nature of the sleep state. The musical lines roll over and around each other, lulling the listener into an ineffable, yet palpable, experience of oblivion.
Mvt. 2: Awakening
The second movement summons the sleeper to unwelcome wakefulness with an abrupt sforzando. The following measures capture the struggle between the longing for continued slumber and the acceptance of waking reality.
Mvt. 3: Emergence
The third movement explores the inner changes that occur as we enter a new reality, whether the subtle acclimation to a new morning or the more momentous adjustment to life-crises such as the death of the boy’s father in the poem. We start to transition tenuously but become stronger as time goes on.
Mvt. 4: Resolve
The decidedly tonal final movement brings resolution to the harmonic ambiguity of the previous movements and finally arrives at its destination: a melancholy D Major. It affirms the decision to move forward and to be present and committed in a new reality – full of yearning and hope – yet also recognizes the lingering sadness of the memories and the life left behind.
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