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Filigree of the Sun (2021)

For string quartet

First performance on August 4, 2021 by Flux Quartet
Commissioned by The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
Duration: 12 minutes and 30 seconds
(A 4 minute and 30 second version is available)

Program Note

“This is music that is always in motion, as if coming perpetually out of a magician’s hat. It leads but doesn’t direct, and is playful and subtle, dancing on light feet. It is music that conjures.”
—The Huffington Post

In four short, contrasting movements, arranged in the tempo scheme: fast, slow, fast, slow and played without a pause, FILIGREE OF THE SUN is kaleidoscopic, multicolored, lyrical, vivid, clear, and energized.

This work celebrates the manner(s) in which the musicians, individually and collectively, embody and sculpt sound. Musical transformations and connections unfold with a natural impulse resulting in an optimistic, flexible-sounding, sonorous journey that weaves itself forward, as if it is spinning innately out of the instruments, at times rhythmic, jazzy, expressive, passionate, humorous, bouncy, and resonant.

Various soloists take turns serving as protagonist as well as fulcrum point, on and around which the other players' musical force-fields bloom, rotate and proliferate. Intricate and nimble chamber-music virtuosity is essential. Although highly notated, precise, carefully crafted and soundly proportioned, and while musicians are elegantly working from a nuanced, specific text, Augusta likes her music to have “the feeling that it is organically being self-propelled—on the spot—as if we listeners are overhearing (capturing) an un-notated improvisation.”

“Music's eternal quality is its capacity for change, transformation and renewal.” said Augusta, who is honored and thrilled to have received this commission from the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Augusta sends her “deep gratitude for the Festival’s support of her life’s work and for their commitments to music’s renewals.” FILIGREE OF THE SUN is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Marc Neikrug, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and the Flux Quartet.

The work should be performed along with dancers when feasible.
— Augusta Read Thomas


FILIGREE OF THE SUN for string quartet (2021)      Augusta Read Thomas (1964)

I: Playful; Buoyant; Energized; Animated; Spirited
II: Lyrical; Ascent commences
III: Lively; Effervescent
IV: Lyrical and resonant ascent continues as if trying to reach toward the sun

A specific option is clearly listed on the score and parts for occasions when you want to play a shorter independent composition of 4 minutes and 30 seconds. If this option is taken, the work should be listed on a concert program as:

from FILIGREE OF THE SUN for string quartet (2021)      Augusta Read Thomas

Movement #1: Playful; Buoyant; Energized; Animated; Spirited


Filigree of the Sun (2021)
The composition’s four movements appear to be filigree of the sun. Atop, the sun is unfurling energy in all directions. A blue movement, followed by a resonant pink movement unfold into the elaborate green and then into the kaleidoscopic, multi-colored movement, which seems to be curling and reaching back up for the sun.


Marc Neikrug, Composer, Pianist, Artistic Director of The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Dedicatee Of The Composition

To obtain examination or performance material for this
Augusta Read Thomas work, please contact Nimbus Music Publishing.