I’ve taken a step in a new direction this year, having accepted a position for this season with Third Angle, one of Portland’s two major new music ensembles (along with Fear No Music). There are several major works for string quartet on the docket for this season, and that was a primary reason why it intrigued me to do this, aside from my persistent interest in new and recent music. The first major work of the season is also the first major string quartet work – String Quartet No. 3 “In Darkness” by Georg Friedrich Haas (b. 1953). It is described by the composer as being
“composed as a verbal score, with many details and decisions left to the performers. They communicate solely through the sounds produced by their instruments, inviting one another into musical processes, accepting these invitations or responding in kind with an invitation of their own – and always deciding for themselves how far they choose to go down each path together, before turning back.”
The catch? It is to be performed in total darkness. Inky, pitch, can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face, black darkness. So the twenty-odd musical textures and invitations and snippets must all be internalized by the four of us and then extemporaneously worked out in the performance space. It is both a terrifying and exhilarating prospect.
The three performances that we’ll be giving will be at the OMSI planetarium, an ideal venue for such a work. They are a co-presentation of Third Angle and PICA’s 2013 Festival of Time-Based Art. Click here to see performance dates/times and ticket information.