From the Beginning (2004) by Richard Festinger
for string quartet
World premiere; Earplay commission

The central metaphor in From the Beginning (String Quartet No. 2) is the growth leading from germinal beginnings to fully elaborated organisms, but accelerated, like what we experience in time-lapse photography. The temporally imperceptible process is telescoped into a human scale. The piece is in two movements, slow followed by fast, with the second flowing out of the concluding harmony like a sudden intake of breath. The first movement is contemplative, or interior, the second is active, or extroverted. The two movements can be thought of as cathexis-catharsis. Paradoxically, the rate of development is rapid in the slow first movement and slower in the following presto.

— R. F.    

[from program for May 23, 2005 concert]