for string quartet
revised January 2013
performed by the Brentano Quartet
February 2013 | Princeton
workshopped in 2009 and 2010 with the Hudson and Franklin Quartets
performance at the Greenwich House, NYC | April 2010
Punctum is essentially an exercise in nostalgia, inspired by Roland Barthes’ description of the “unexpected” in photographs and in particular by his extended description of the elusive “Winter Garden” photo in his 1980 book Camera Lucida. Through modular sequences strung together out of context, the piece explores a way of saturating the palette with classicism while denying it form, and of disturbing the legibility of a harmonic progression in order to reinforce it later.
One could also say the piece is about the sensation of a particular secondary dominant in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.