Fox Hollow, for string quartet

Fox Hollow is a string quartet commissioned by the Lafayette String Quartet. The work was premiered at Open Space in Victoria, BC, Canada, on November 8, 2013.

The title refers to the Fox Hollow Folk Festival, which I attended as a teenager (and later performed in, as part of "Bottle Hill," an eclectic bluegrass band). The festival was hosted by the Beers Family on their family homestead, and ran from 1966 to 1980. While I have been to many festivals of all kinds before and since, this one stands out as particularly meaningful.

Steve Winter of WSHU describes the festival as follows: "It was a festival of the times, steeped in romance as a world of musical magic and enchantment was created. It was a festival of intimacy and limited attendance that brought together “big names” with lesser known traditional artists. It was purely acoustic — no electricity."

"Fox Hollow" for string quartet is in four connected movements depicting different moods and times of day: "Sawmill Tuning" is based on the modal banjo tuning used in many Appalachian folk songs. "Midday Blues" begins with a mournful viola solo and includes a freely rhythmic heterophony. "Natural Amphitheater" recalls concerts in which the audience sat on the ground on a terraced hillside. Finally, in "Campground Cacophony Under the Stars," multiple overlapping jam sessions expand and recede until the dawn, when it all starts again.