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Momenta Quartet Champions Alvin Singleton's String Quartets

Alvin Singleton'sSomehow We Can was commissioned in 1994 by the Eastman School of Music in memory of the celebrated contralto Marian Anderson, and has been recorded and released by Tzadik Records on an eponymous album from 2002. Now, Somehow We Can has become recently celebrated as a repertoire staple by the Momenta Quartet, which has also performed Singleton's earlier quartet, Secret Desire to be Black. On November 19th, Somehow We Can saw its Philadelphia premiere, and as Momenta violinist Emile-Anne Gendron notes, Momenta is dedicated to incorporating this work as an "important addition to the string quartet canon."

The free improviser Eugene Chadbourne writes of Somehow We Can:  "The composer effectively uses the instruments to create an impression of the human voice, sometimes speaking alone, sometimes raised in a kind of aggressive rabble. Wonderful moments of melody float through, bringing to mind Duke Ellington's quote about grey skies being 'clouds passing over.'"

Singleton's work is also becoming a staple of cellist Seth Parker-Woods, who has incorporated Argoru II into his concert repertoire. Parker-Woods will perform the Seattle premiere Argoru II in an upcoming concert on December 9th.

Argoru II, as well as Secret Desire to be Black, will soon be published by PSNY, available as digital and hard-copy editions. Check out Momenta's performance of Secret Desire to be Black below. 

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