This piece was written to explore the sonic capabilities of a modified string quartet with just one member of each of the string family (violin, viola, cello, double bass), and to explore the often under looked capacity of the guitar in orchestral chamber works.
Using this form of modified string quartet, the more somber and hoarse toned viola is forced into taking more leads in place of a second violin. The violin, when playing on its top A and E strings, sounds isolated and stark without another violin providing harmony in close proximity. The double bass provides a heavier overall tone, and makes the other instruments feel enveloped in the deep tones.
The guitar, despite being in existence for centuries, is not considered a standard instrument for most orchestral repertoire and has seldom been composed for in chamber works by major classical musicians until more recently. Yet the guitar easily provides a basso continuo that blends with other instruments far better than a harpsichord, and has a wider range of techniques than harpsichord: from palm muting, harmonics, slides, and bends that make it a very expressive instrument despite its strings being sounded by a plectrum rather than a bow (especially compared to harpsichord). The guitar as an instrument is built for speed, with the ability to make rapid tremolos with a short pick motion (which is why Paganini is so popular with guitarists); this piece takes full advantage of this capability with some frantic, thrash-metal inspired rhythm sections. In the context of this piece, the guitar trades off between leads and accompaniment to demonstrate the instruments flexibility within a chamber string context.
Piece composed 12/31/2015.
released August 4, 2016
Composer: K. L. Fortson
Guitar: Ewan Dobson
Violin: Rachel Hixson
Viola: Ari Le
Cello: Darrel Luther
Bass: Dr. Edward Harrington
Conductor: K. L. Fortson
Recording Engineer: Christopher Barela
Mixed: K. L. Fortson & Edward Harrington
Mastered: K. L. Fortson