ZACHARY JAMES WATKINS -

SUIT FOR STRING QUARTET

(confront collectors series ccs 14)

 

Johnny Chang : violin 

Gerhard Uebele : violin 
Miriam Gotting : viola 
Martin Smith : cello 
Zachary James Watkins : electronics

 

Recorded Berlin 2009

 

Suite for String Quartet has been in a continuous state of 'revision' since Christmas 2004. For this current version I have developed a new tuning for all 16 strings. Each string of the quartet is retuned to an odd number partial of 60Hz. Suite For String Quartet is written specifically for resonant spaces, interactive electronics, audience participation and string quartet. Please feel free to explore the space, move quickly, move slowly, make subtle movements, dance! Listen to the unique characteristics of the space and the sounds being performed by the loud speakers, strings players and each other! - Zachary James Watkins

 

"Watkin's 2006 composition Suite For String Quartet" has been making the rounds of international festivals and performance spaces; and the Californian composer has been wisely tweaking the piece with each presentation, slowing the pace of certain elements and constricting the more agitated motifs. Harmonics from specific tunings for his quartet plus his own electronics are central to the work, building upon tutelage from Alvin Curran and Pauline Oliveros. Buzzing overtones waver and pulse from Watkins' quartet and accompanying electronic drone, with everything tuned to mathematically precise variations upon the 60hz hum. In this 2009 performance from Berlin, he imparts a steady surge of sustained notes for the first 20 minutes, before directing his quartet to diverge into dive-bomb motifs that almost sound like shepherds tones played on strings." (The Wire)