Christopher Butterfield: Trip

Bozzini Quartet


The five pieces on this disc span roughly twenty years: Lullaby was written in 1991, and fall in 2013. Lullaby for string sextet and beach whistle (1993) for solo cello, both more or less through-composed, are mostly very quiet except for occasional irruptions. Clinamen (1999) for solo violin is made up of eighty cards, each containing a short phrase, to be combined at will by the performer. Trip (2008) is a four-movement string quartet with a lopsided form in which the last movement is more than twice as long as the first three together. The instructions for the radio that appears briefly in the first movement are simply that it be tuned to “talk radio” and that it be “slightly more than unobtrusive.” fall may be the richest piece conceptually and the hardest one to grasp in a recording. Based on the chromatic rotation of a fournote row, with an audibly cumulative structure, it uses six specific dynamics, from very quiet to very loud, assigned to each pitch in each voice using chance methods. This creates an unpredictable “voice leading” and a sense of undependable harmony: the chords keep repeating in randomized dynamics, so one finds oneself in a landscape in which everything is the same, but not.

Both Trip and fall were written for the Quatuor Bozzini. What a joy it is to work with them. — Christopher Butterfield, August 2016

Collection QB
Catalogue no
CQB 1719