String Quartet #2: Sketches From a Fakebook Landfill

 

Notes on the piece:


This work is a kind of soundtrack to a dream.


In this dream, I fall from a plane, from a very high, into an enormous landfill containing nothing but discarded jazz fakebooks. After I hit the ground, I get up, staggering and a little dazed. I walk around. As I regain awareness, I begin to pick up random fakebooks and flip through them and throw them back down, as if looking for something meaningful. At times, I pick up wet, pulpy handfuls of loose pages and pick through them. Other times, I find myself staying a while in certain passages from cleaner sheets that I pick from the air as they slowly blow by.


The work is not meant to tell a linear account of the dream, but rather act as a kind of collage of the sketchy memory of it; a wet, pulpy handful itself, in which the various elements of the traditional string quartet structure might behave nomadically and become rearranged in non-traditional ways.


I remember the declarative voice of the pilot of the plane over the intercom, just before I fell, quoting Zappa… ”Jazz isn’t dead. It just smells funny.”


JWS

05/2007


Click to download PDF of full score

Click image to listen to its premiere, performed by the Tosca String Quartet