How we fool ourselves

“The determining impulse for the Third Quartet was a fall 1971 concert that took place at the University of Pennsylvania… [that included] George Crumb’s Black Angels… This concert and performance of Crumb’s work, which I’d not heard before, helped produce the seed for my Third Quartet. I remember with absolute clarity that the moment Black Angels ended and I was leaving the hall I said to myself, “Now I know what not to do.”

-from, Five Lines, Four Spaces: The World of My Music by George Rochberg

And so George went home and wrote his important and beautiful Third String Quartet: a piece that juxtaposes tonal and modernist musics; that layers tonal music with non-tonal figuration; that features a rapturous major key adagio; and that opens with a fortissimo statement in rhythmic unison of a repeated tritone-laden motto that returns later in the piece – all traits that Rochberg’s Third Quartet shares with Crumb’s Black Angels.

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