ll the Usual Refinements
, written for the string quartet, was the resultof a crucial turning point in my compositional style. After my recentexperience in writing choral music, I quickly realized how much themedium had taught me about limiting oneself in composition. Instead of using many different ideas and techniques over a short period of time, Ifound that focusing on one or two ideas, and developing led to my mostsuccessful movements. Not only did the singers understand what washappening in the music, they were able to internalize and express themusic in an organic and spontaneous manner. Given the time limit setupon the commission for this quartet, I set out to use the lessons I hadlearned, and only use a small amount of source material.The quartet is freely canonic in its entire duration, allowing the players toshowcase their personality as their echoed part peaked out from within theensemble. I found myself not just writing the part names on the score (i.e.Violin I, Violin II, etc.), but rather the names of the players. Given that Ihad worked with the quartet a handful of times before, I felt as if I waswriting for the strengths and individualities of each player, not simply justthe instrument they were playing.
All the Usual Refinements
was recordedat Jack Straw Productions by The St. Helens String Quartet in February2012, and premiered at PONCHO Hall by The Corigliano Quartet inMarch 2012.