String Orchestra or String Quartet, 8' 30"
Commissioned by violist Susan Chan for the New Century String Quartet. Inspired by Brahms' String Quartet, Op 67, III; in which the viola plays the leading role while the other strings are muted. Thematic material is taken from opening bars of the Brahms then freely developed along the model of a series of coexisting spirals-some tighter, some looser. Thus, after opening in a relatively brisk tempo, a steady progression from slower to faster tempi leads to an vibrant finale. Among the development techiques employed is a substantial fugal treatment of the Brahms theme, which is also directly quoted near the end.
New elements in the orchestral arrangement include a concerto grosso-like opposition between a quartet comprised of the first-chair players and the tutti. Spirals is a bright, rhythmic and accessible piece which functions well as an orchestral opener.
Spirals was choregraphed by Elizabeth Mikautadze for her modern dance company, The Mikautadze Dance Theater in 2014. A video excerpt appears below.