I am absolutely thrilled to present this week's bonus track, an exclusive in-studio performance of Meredith Monk's transcendent string quartet Stringsongs.
Stringsongs is Meredith's first string quartet. Written in 2005, the piece was premiered by the Kronos Quartet. Until now, however, no recording of this entire work has been available to the public. Meet the Composer is extremely proud to present this recording, by the inimitable ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble).
In the MTC Monk episode, we spent a considerable amount of time focusing on the fascinating processes Monk has employed constructing some of her vocal music - namely, her using her vocal ensemble to workshop ideas in the air. Stringsongs is an example of a completely different working style; these days, Monk has been writing more and more scored, instrumental music, and Stringsongs was developed very much that way. The piece is in four movements: "Cliff Light," "Tendrils," "Obsidian Chorale," and "Phantom Strings." This work is a gorgeous example of Meredith lending her gilded aesthetic to a very Classical format.
The composer's program note is below:
In Stringsongs, my first piece for string quartet, I explored using instruments to create unexpected textures and sounds in much the same way that I have worked with the voice over many years. I was inspired by the profound musicianship and passionate commitment of the Kronos Quartet. During the rehearsal period, as I got to know the players, the music came to life in surprising ways, colored by the distinctive "voice" of each musician.