‘The Freedom Quartet’

“Like many artistic works, my new quartet was born in tragedy, more than one in fact. The first was the presidential election of 2016. The work begins with the feeling I share with many others as to the present condition of our politics. The second movement is dedicated to my mother, Anna Filameno, who died weeks after the election as described further below. The finale of this work is my emphatic rendition of The National Anthem”…

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2 thoughts on “‘The Freedom Quartet’”

  1. Hello, old friend, I quite enjoyed your Freedom Quartet, which rather surprised me because I was afraid I wouldn’t. Last year the conductor of the chamber orchestra I play in, David Banney, composed a string quartet in response to Trump’s ascendancy, which was performed at the Newcastle Music Festival. It also used recorded excerpts from the president’s speeches. I didn’t play the viola part — David did — and I didn’t go to the event where it was played, but I thought at the time it was a really bad idea. For one thing, the sound of Trump’s voice infuriates me. For another, writing string quartets is probably the least effective for of political activism there is. I know of at least two string quartets that were composed to protest the Vietnam War. Take that, General Westmoreland.

    But of course artists are obligated to write about what affects us emotionally. The FQ really resonated with me, because even here on the other side of the world people are distraught over what’s happening in America, and also because I too lost a parent in 2017. My father taught citizenship courses to immigrants and Boy Scouts, served on civil rights councils, et cetera, but he also believed that the secret ballot was a cornerstone of democracy. Not once did he ever tell me how he had voted in any election. But my brother tells me that in his final months he was very bitter and upset about Trump.

    Dad never won any Jitterbug contests, though. That would have been hilarious.

    I agree with you about the false tonality/atonality dichotomy. Hindemith noted that as all music is made up of tones, it cannot possibly be atonal. Unfortunately many of us have been taught to think of music in those terms. Music is made of tones, yes, but more importantly, it is made of feelings.

    I ordered your quartet score and parts; not sure if I’ll ever do anything with it, but I’d like to have a closer look and see how the viola part lies. So how am I supposed to get the pdf? Are you going to email it to me, or what?

    1. Thank you Master Groh! Great to hear from you and ‘hear’ your thoughts!

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