CHRISTOPHER STARK (b.1980): Seasonal Music for String Quartet (Momenta Quartet), Piano Quartet (Los Angeles Piano Quartet), This is Not a Story for Clarinet, Piano Trio and Electronics (Scott Andrews [clarinet], Calyx Piano trio).
Catalogue Number: 11V075
Description: Stark grew up in western Montana, so expansive landscape is part of his background, and he has made an especial study of the interaction between acoustic and electronic music. Both are audible in these works. Seasonal Music, a large and virtuosic string quartet, traverses the seasons in three movements which combine conventional, expressive, tonal and rhythmically decisive quartet writing that frequently makes use of overlapping repeated gestures with extended techniques, and ingenious imitations of natural sounds - birdsong in 'Spring', the droning of insects in 'Summer into Fall'. Cheeky quotations from Vivaldi round out the mixture. The Piano Quartet comprises three movements; the first in memory of Jonathan Harvey, full of rippling textures, bells, otherworldly drums (muted piano strings), and heartfelt melody; an unstably ticking mechanism for friend and fellow composer Sean Shepherd (04S079); an exhilarating perpetuum mobile for Roberto Sierra (06T063, 05U064). This is Not a Story pays tribute to René Magritte in more than title in incongruous juxtapositions and fleeting images. Here the composer’s use of electronics comes into play, in a wild outbreak of sampled pealing bells in the first movement, and a resonant piano drone and a sample of a sea shanty in the third. The middle movement, "Sorting out Beethoven" comes with its own built-in metronome, and quotations.