Tethys II (String Tribute)

by Tristan François de Liège

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I 05:32
II 05:30
III 04:20
IV 03:58
V 05:35
VI 05:25 video


UTR - 166

Tristan François de Liège - Tethys II (String Tribute)


This string quartet composition, divided into 6 segments, was written in the fall of 2017, when I was living in a small section of a large artist loft in the Downtown Arts District in Los Angeles. The pieces underwent several stages of evolution. Initially, they began as warped versions of tracks from the second Tethys album (II), to which I had intended to add expanded string sections. After seeing a live performance from the Kronos Quartet, I was inspired to challenge myself to actually write string quartet compositions using these Tethys pieces as starting points. When I was writing them in some portions of the pieces I stayed close to the original Tethys compositions and kept a similar structure and central melodies. In others I explored very different ideas and went in new directions. I listened to lots of different compositions for inspiration, from Arvo Pärt to Björk to Claude Debussy and Philip Glass. I usually listened to these while riding my bike around downtown Los Angeles to take breaks from writing. The next phase of evolution came when the pieces were properly transcribed, which resulted in a few changes for ease of performance and clarity of the pieces, based especially on advice from the strings players themselves. Finally, we made some slight changes when doing the actual recording itself when I noticed certain things might sound clearer or some change in articulation would add an emotional impact.

One of the things I loved most about writing these pieces is that as an electronic musician I always struggle to make music that stays simple and minimalistic. As a producer I have infinite possibilities for layering synths and samples on top of each other when making tracks, but in a string quartet one is limited to four voices at any given time. I think this restriction helped me explore minimalism a bit more and challenged me creatively.

Although I loved writing these pieces, the time at which I was writing them was certainly a somewhat confusing and difficult time in my life, during which periodic but brief episodes of depression and a sense of loneliness and isolation would come to me in waves. In retrospect, it turned out to be a time of emotional growth that needed to happen but the process was nevertheless painful. Consequently, the pieces have a rather mournful tone. I hope anyone feeling a sense of isolation can relate to these pieces as a way of expressing it.

I want to thank all the musicians involved in performing and recording this quartet with me, and providing me helpful advice along the way: Yvette Holzwarth, Christopher Votek, Patrick Behnke, and Luis Mascaro. Chris also provided the space at which we could record the pieces. I also want to thank Tom Cowcher, Isaac Takeuchi, and Mark Kuykendall for their support.

- Tristan de Liège, July 2018.c x


released August 24, 2018

Luis Mascaro - Violin
Yvette Cornelia Holzwarth - Violin
Patrick Behnke - Viola
Christopher Votek - Cello
Mastering/CD Design - Mark Kuykendall
Cover Art/Photography - Tristan François de Liège


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