performed by JACK Quartet at NUNC!3 on April 22, 2018 live recording: Bill Milgram
premiered by Spektral Quartet at Northwestern University, April 9, 2017
(2017) Setting: A shuttered cell phone accessory store on Chicago’s Western Avenue. Light provided by 24 Yankee Candle Bahama Breeze Large Jar Candles. Bahama Breeze fills the room, works its way underneath MDF and particle board, chromed L hooks, and a handful of lingering, black vinyl and clear plastic protective Nokia phone covers, belt hooks included. The 24 candles surround a string quartet.The string quartet gently articulates the harmonic signature of the ur-rebar, the holotype, that undergirds the pothole-bejewelled grid of our Urbs in Horto. The quartet engages in a dedicated act of performative listening. The listening becomes increasingly social, active, involving great effort and coordination. Ideally, Joseph Haydn recognizes an invocation and makes an appearance. Haydn and the players talk about how the string quartet is an ideal model for empathic listening, critical care, and group work. Joseph Haydn finds a pair of ear buds that he likes, and even though the store is long desolate, he leaves a couple of bucks on the counter—because he’s a nice guy—places his new purchase in his pocket, bids farewell to the quartet and strolls south on Western Avenue.