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The Daedalus Quartet Premieres Fred Lerdahl's "Chaconne"

Fred Lerdahl's writing for string quartet has, since 1978, played with musical form and syntax to achieve strikingly dramatic and engaging works. Lerdahl's three string quartets can be heard on a pristine recording performed by the Daedalus Quartet, for whom Lerdahl's Third Quartet was commissioned in 2008, completing the trilogy.

Now Lerdahl, with support from New Music USA, has written another work for Daedalus—entitled Chaconne—which diverges from Lerdahl's asymmetrical "spiral form" and instead explores the symmetrical periodicities inherent in the form of the chaconne. Eight bars of paired symmetrical phrases spell out the name of the Daedalus Quartet in the names of pitch-classes, using the German spelling of Eb (D-A-E-D-A-Es); Lerdahl uses this motive throughout the work to make a piece that is, in his words, "outward and transparent, one that projects delight in playful patterns."

Listen to Lerdahl's first three quartets performed by Daedalus below. 

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