Nicolas Chuaqui

Halcyon Moments (2015)

Instrumentation: String quartet   View score

Duration: 10'

Halcyon Moments contains four movements connected in a theme of existential malaise. The first, "Lifelines," is a portrait of the brevity of life; the short trilled entrances are indicative of this. Despite some brief excursions along the way, the movement, as it expands further in range, moves consistently toward its inevitable end. "The Numb Reflect" satirizes ceremonial and inauthentic introspection; reflections are no more than repetitions in this case. "Halcyon Moments" laments the impossibility of returning to the past. The slow tempo and deliberate gestures, day-dreams of better days, are all turned to naught with the intrusion of the abrasive pizzicato section, and the comfort of the past is now seen as nothing more than a state of mind, impermanent and subjective. "An Exercise in Pandemonium," finally, turns all these currents into action. This last movement is violent, grotesque in its gestures, and dissonant, with its material deriving from an all-interval tetrachord [0146], an existential cry of pain, in a sense. The unyielding drive toward destruction increases toward the end, and the demise that was viewed negatively in the first movement has become the goal.


Past performances:

- June 8, 2016: The Arditti Quartet. Baird Recital Hall, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.

- February 2, 2016: Shaina Pan and Gaia Ramsdell, violins; Yonsung Lee, viola; Diana Wuli, cello. Student Composition Recital. Auer Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

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