[dropcap_1]W[/dropcap_1]elcome to the 2nd edition of Canon Fodder, a series dedicated to presenting string quartets that deserve to be heard. Lee Hyla is a close friend of quartet, and he's got a new piece in the pipeline for us. Hope you like our old favorite by him, with video from our recent performance -Austin
Lee Hyla: String Quartet #4 (1999) - www.leehyla.com
Lee Hyla was born in Niagara Falls in 1952, he currently lives in Chicago, IL and teaches at Northwestern University.
First performance: 9/23/99 at University of Mass. Amherst. Written for the Lydian String Quartet, commissioned by New England Presenters
My other favorites by Lee are We Speak Etruscan and Pre-Pulse Suspended.
As a second part to this series on contemporary works for string quartet, I thought I'd continue with another Spektral favorite. I think you'll see from the video below that this piece takes full advantage of the expressive and virtuosic possibilities from each chair of the quartet.
Keep an ear open for those spots where Lee has the quartet playing in different tempos. Particularly at 1:53 you can hear that transition from "together" to "apart" as the cello picks up its own faster tempo, as well as the large section in duos (cello/vln. 2 and vla/vln 1) starting at 3:34. The conversation happens from so many angles, pairs, and tones of voice from each instrument throughout the piece!
Lee's music is a continual joy for me to listen to and perform because of its integrity to his own personal voice (he reminds me of the musical equivalent of Lenny Bruce). His combination of disparate musical impulses into a coherent language that's immediately "Lee's Music" would make Stravinsky or Beethoven giggle.