Trance (2006-07)

Paul Frehner

string quartet

Commission: Radio France, for the Quatuor Castagnéri

Program Notes

The hypnotist bids you trust him and look at the swaying object on the end of the pendulum. As you begin to lose yourself in the swaying you hope he will remember to eventually snap his fingers….

This composition represents a significant stylistic and aesthetic departure for me. In my works there is normally a plurality of musical and referential ideas that are placed in opposition of each other. In this work, however, there is essentially a single idea: a hypnotic pulsation created by an interlocking rhythm in which each member of the quartet independently articulates, over and over, a sustained note that swells and decays. Over this gently pulsing rhythm the pitch material begins around F in the middle register and, as it expands slowly overtime, fluctuates between well-tempered and microtonal sound worlds with a certain emphasis placed on unisons.

This piece was composed on a commission from Radio France and will be premiered by the Bozzini Quartet in the 2009 Présences Festival.