Cindy Cox graciously accepted our invitation to write a new quartet to help us celebrate our thirtieth anniversary in 2013. In fact, she recklessly jumped in without a commission in place, agreeing to undertake the work during the sabbatical she was taking with her family in South America. The Quartet has admired her meticulous compositional voice for almost two decades, ever since we performed and recorded her first string quartet, Columba aspexit. When the time came to invite composers to join in our thirtieth-anniversary celebration, it seemed fitting to choose a composer from our own generation and locale. Cindy has lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for as long as we have, so we felt it right on this occasion to champion one of our own and then take the piece to a wider audience when touring far afield.
Our introduction to Cindy’s music came almost by accident when she asked us to perform (and then to record for CRI) her Columba aspexit, composed for our colleagues in the Kronos Quartet. The piece immediately engaged us as we grappled with its unusual technical challenges, including what might be one of the trickiest, high-maintenance fourth movements in the literature. But the lyric and atmospheric elegance of Cindy’s soundscape prevailed, beautifully haunting perhaps just because of those challenges. Columba remains one of our all-time favorite contemporary discoveries, and we were delighted to re-record it for this new compilation.
Cindy composed Patagón specifically for our thirtieth-anniversary celebration. After extended rehearsals with her, spent honing the new work’s evocative effects and becoming comfortable with the fluidity of its arch form, we gave the premiere of Patagón on April 13, 2012, on the Santa Rosa Junior College Chamber Concert Series. This was followed by a performance on our own Morrison Chamber Music Center’s Artists Series at SFSU. On both occasions the work was rapturously received. The present recording, made in Berkeley’s Hertz Hall in 2012 and 2013, includes Zak Grafilo’s performance of the Elegy for solo violin.
We are delighted to collect in this release three beautiful works by a cherished friend and colleague.