String Quartet for Two Instruments

From a live performance by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Terri Sternberg, violin; Ruth Freeman, viola. San Francisco Museum of Art, 1983.

String Quartet for Two Instruments
for vioin and viola

Duration: 12' 

"String Quartet for Two Instruments" was written in 1983, during a visit to Jerusalem. The title refers to the fact that for much of the piece, four distinct lines of counterpoint are played by the two instruments. The effect is to combine the richness of a string quartet sound with the precision of ensemble and virtuostc character of a duet.

The piece is based on an old Yiddish folk melody to which new words were written in 1942. This version, by Hirsch Glick, is entitled Shtill dee Nacht iz oys geshternt("Silent, the night is full of stars"), a song of resistance from the anti-Nazi partisans in Vilna (Vilnius, in present-day Lithuania.)

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