The music is arresting and compelling…the writing ingenious  and brilliant, challenging yet well written for the saxophone, and with a clear intensity throughout.”    – Paul Cohen, President, To The Fore Publishers

Quartettope (2008)  14'

clarinet, tenor sax, violin, piano
Written for The Ibis Camerata
Premiered by Mimesis Ensemble, recorded by the Stonybrook Contemporary Chamber Players.
view score
I. Sehr maessig (Webern - McLoskey)

II. Etwas langsam (McLoskey - Webern)

Quartettrope is included on the CD Specific Gravity: Chamber Music by Lansing McLoskey (Albany Records, 2013).

NOTES:
While the traditions of quotation, arranging, and post-modern collage utilizing preexisting works have thrived in the past 100 years, the technique of troping newly composed music into the body of preexisting music pretty much died out after the 13th century; I'm unaware of any modern pieces which explore this idea. 

Quartettrope is written for the same instrumentation as the Webern Quartett, op.22.  It is not simply a "companion piece," however: It is a trope for the Quartett -- an integral, organic insertion - like the medieval tropes inserted seemlessly into pre-existing chant melodies. Although I found the idea totally compelling and interesting, the challenge was one of the greatest I've ever faced as a composer.

There is no clear "beginning" to my piece, as the first movement grows out of the ending of the first movement of the Webern, literally dovetailing from the Webern into my piece.  Likewise, there is no clear ending to the second movement; rather, the music transitions subtly and seamlessly into the second movement of the Webern.

The result is still a "two movement" piece, if you will, but unfolds as:

I.                     Webern — McLoskey

II.                   McLoskey — Webern

Although not strictly twelve-tone, the first movement utilizes not only the same row-forms as the first movement of the Webern, but in the exact same order.  In effect this provides a large-scale harmonic repetition of the Webern, but in the context of wholly new-composed music.  Part of the challenge, indeed, was to write music that — while complimentary and organically connected to the Quartett — was completely my own and not at all "in the style of" Webern, despite containing several small motivic snippets. 

The second movement is an aria for violin.  It starts off with the same row-forms in the same sequential order as the first 20 measures of Webern's second movement, but then abandons any serial structure altogether until it weaves back into the Quartett.

Quartettrope is dedicated to The Ibis Camerata, with special thanks to Biljana: A friend and devoted advocate for music as a living art form.

IMPORTANT: As the entire piece fits inside Webern's Quartett, it is not possible to follow, evaluate, or understand the piece without the Webern score.  For that reason I am including a copy of the Webern score for evaluation purposes only,, marked where it jumps to my score and back again.  Click HERE for the Webern score.


I love the movement back and forth between relative dissonances to consonances [in Quartettrope]… I love the sound of the piece as just a listener. But as I read through the score, I realize how clean and pure the whole thing is; and how wonderfully organized the form is.  Really, really beautiful!  [McLoskey] definitely deserve to get his share of fame one day.”

– John Perkins, founder of the afterPostModern contemporary music blog

“McLoskey’s musical interests have evolved from being a guitarist and songwriter for punk rock bands to a composer of some of the most unique and engaging contemporary music written today. … Upon hearing [his work] saxophonists will probably be awaiting future compositions from this fine composer.

– Benjamin Faris. The Saxophone Symposium