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Fugitive Star (1999-2000)

For string quartet

Commissioned by The Caramoor Music Festival
Premiered by The Avalon Quartet in July 2000
May also be performed as part of the grouping Sun Threads
Duration: 9 minutes


Program Note

Music of all kinds constantly amazes, surprises, propels and seduces me into a wonderful and powerful journey. I am happiest when I am listening to music and in the process of composing music. I care deeply that music is not anonymous and generic or easily assimilated and just as easily dismissed. I would say that FUGITIVE STAR has passionate, urgent, seductive, and compelling qualities of sometimes complex, but always logical thought, allied to sensuous and engaging sonic profiles.

The intimation of a cosmic star that was breaking away from and fearlessly escaping the pull of centrifugal force captured my imagination. I attempted to conceive the passion and force of this star specifically in the viola line which starts the work with an elegant and almost timeless, floating melody. The viola, little by little, leads the quartet forward in an intrepid, bold, and partially ravished continuum of sound which transforms until eventually the entire string quartet plays one theme in unison. This leads to the coda which returns to the slow, lyrical, sensuous, and weightless nature implied the opening materials. The music ends on a delicate chord between the viola and the violin, which sounds almost like fragile glimmer of light as seen from afar.

FUGITIVE STAR, which was composed for the Avalon String Quartet, is in one movement and has a duration of about 8 minutes.

FUGITIVE STAR was commissioned by the Caramoor International Chamber Music Festival for the Avalon Quartet with support from Chamber Music America.

For a longer Program Note please see SUN THREADS for string quartet.

— Augusta Read Thomas


The Avalon Quartet

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