Excerpt from a recording by the Jefferson String Quartet.
Telegram to the President
for string quartet and tape
Instrumentation: string quartet and stereo computer-generated tape
"Telegram to the President" is an epigrammatic work commissioned by the Kronos Quartet. It is in the form of a prelude, fugue, and coda. The prelude features the computer as an imaginary soloist, while the fugue focuses attention on the quartet.
Telegram was written in bitter disappointment over the 1984 re-election of Ronald Reagan by a complacent American public. Yet, in contrast to this tone of indictment, the content of the telegram is a message of hope, a gentle faith in the continuing vitality of the grass roots American spirit. The text of the telegram, is taken from the 1933 poem of Langston Hughes: "Oh, let America be America again.
The computer part features an innovative plucked string synthesis technique developed by the composer in conjunction with Julius Smith, Kevin Karplus, and Alex Strong. It was realized at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University using the Systems Concepts Digital Synthesizer.
To obtain performance materials contact Terra Non Firma Press
Radio interview including discussion and performance of "Telegram to the President."