String Quartet No. 4: Emergence

Score title

String Quartet No. 4: Emergence


Libby Larsen

More about the composer


Program note

Two years ago, during a visit to Utah State University, I met Rebecca McFaul and immediately connected with her intense commitment to the idea that music can act as a powerful agent of transformation and change. She spoke eloquently and forcefully about the Fry Street Quartet’s dedication to actively making art that is relevant to the challenges of our time and introduced me to the quartet’s Crossroads Project, which combines music, visuals, and writing to shine light on humanity’s growing unsustainability. Like so many of us, I am extremely concerned about what we humans are doing to our natural environment and I am eager for opportunities to use my own gifts to help. Emergence is the result of The Fry Street Quartet’s and my mutual desire to do what we can to contribute to our collective social conscience.

It struck me early on that the water cycle could be a useful metaphor so I planned Emergence as an abstract narrative in five movements. Each movement is inspired by parts of the water cycle: precipitation, run off, evaporation and transpiration, condensation. Each movement also suggests emotion: exhilaration, joy, wonder, fear, anger, grief, regret, resolve, and reverence.

I hoped to embrace Rebecca’s philosophy about music and compose abstract music which could place every listener inside it, both as a being interconnected with all other kinds of being and as individual spirits capable of reason, emotion, and action.