Theoretical Party

Theoretical Party (2009/11) (2′)

for string quartet

May 9, 2011

Leo Brown and Sato Matsui, violins; Noah Fields, viola; Talia Loewen (I) and Alex Lou (II), cello

Here is an early miniature for string quartet.

Counting among several arresting scenes in David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” is one “theoretical party” where the hipsters in attendance can’t bear to be actually dancing. They might be shimmying a little bit, but it’s as if there are these inverted commas hovering around their hips. One of the guests is merely ‘alluding to a cha-cha,’ we learn. This miniature for string quartet begins as if someone told the whole-tone scale (a ‘blankly uniform’ scale that ordinarily refuses to be pinned down) to shut up and dance. And get down it does—in fact, by the end the “party” might just be beginning to shed its scare-quotes.