New Music at Carnegie Hall: Carnegie Hall Commissions
Commission at a Glance
Widows & Lovers
I. White Widow
II. Lovers
III. Black Widow

Aviya Kopelman
Recorded on February 22, 2008
at Zankel Hall Stage

Kronos Quartet (David Harrington, violin; John Sherba, violin; Hank Dutt, viola; Jeffrey Zeigler, cello)


Notes on the Work

Widows & Lovers consists of three parts: ‘White Widow,’ a potent and rare species of marijuana; ‘Lovers’; and ‘Black Widow,’ a species of spider whose female consumes the male directly after mating.

It was crucial for me to question the relevance of such a homogeneous ensemble as a string quartet in a time when electronic music has stretched the limits of orchestration and sound. I wanted to address the sonic universe that surrounds me, exploring and using the numerous technical possibilities for live performance offered by Kronos Quartet, but without forsaking the strength of the strings as I perceive it: a warm, living, breathing and deeply expressive sound, which echoes in the heart over centuries.

The position of an amplified string quartet was another issue to be examined. Technically, nothing inhibits a string quartet from performing in a concert hall as well as in a club. This allows for a different listening experience and a different audience. While writing this piece I imagined it in both contexts.

Widows & Lovers developed out of a game of free associations. It moves between who I am and who I wish to be, between Kronos Quartet and myself, and between classical chamber music and contemporary life.