Instrumentation: string quartet
Duration: 7 minutes
The nocturne originated in the piano music of John Field during the early part of the nineteenth century and was later popularized by Chopin. The essence of the nocturne is not defined by form or harmony but by the vaguer concept of mood. Nocturne means “of the night,” and many nocturnes are character pieces that evoke the night’s spirit. Usually they have a singing melody tinged with melancholy. However, this is not exclusively true. Many of Chopin’s nocturnes are diverse in character, ranging from exultant and agitato to tranquil, sometimes changing drastically by the moment. My nocturne has this transformative character and it was not until I finished the piece and looked at it as a whole that I realized its connection with these older pieces. Like the nocturnes of the nineteenth century, the essence of my piece evokes a particular and haunting mood. Nocturne was premiered by the Daedalus Quartet in February 2015.