"Such a fascinating set of works! I can't wait to hear more of them!"
—Renown Virtuoso, Jennifer Koh
Caprice No. 14 in D Minor, "The Neo-Appalachian Caprice"
String Quartet No. 2 in D Minor:
Premiered by: Sana Coetus Novum
• Movement 1: Grave & Scherzo
• Movement 2: Andante Pizzicati
• Movement 3: Finale
Predating than the Roman Empire itself, the god Janus had been
worshipped since c.600 B.C.E. His first known temple had been by
constructed by an edict of Numa Pompilius in 753 B.C.E. Janus’ worship lasted until shortly after a ban by edict of Emperor Theodosius in 390 A.D.
Janus is the god of personifying the perpetuality of time, often referred to as "the god of beginnings and endings." He is also known as the god of opposites; especially war and peace, future and past, and serious versus jocund. He was believed to have created these polarities, and to have command over them.
For this, he is depicted with two faces, as the embodiment of such
dualities, simultaneously looking ahead to the future, and behind to the past. As
Janus also commands coronal transitions, the Julian Calendar (45 B.C.E.) and
those to follow, eponymously appropriated his name for their first month—
Being devoted to contrasting dualities, stark shifts in mood, and the transitions
between them, this quartet has also been named in honor of the ancient god,
Janus. Whether the heavy and serious Grave in minor followed immediately by
the jocund Scherzo in major, or the densely complex texture of the first and
last movements being contrasted with a largely homophonic all-pizzicati
movement in between, the character of Janaus may be heard throughout.
As Janus’s double-faced embodiment is the same from front to back, the whole
work closes with the exact same theme with which it is opened, but to further
nuance of opposites, the theme which opens high in the violin is transcribed to
the lower range of the cello.
Janus is further represented in theoretical realizations, explicated in the following paragraphs.
• MOVEMENT 1: Grave: Opens immediately with the two-measure theme in the first violin, lightly accompanied by pizzicati in the viola and cello. Initially feeling in 6/8, the meter segues into a stable 3/4 with the establishment of a V7(b9) harmony, the tendency chord of the Middle-Eastern Hijaz (Phrygian) mode. This sonority is featured in the development, and returns to accompany the theme, again, before its transition into the Scherzo. Within the Grave closing, the cello commences a rhythmic motif of dotted-quarter and 3- eighths, thereby dividing 3/4 into 3/8 + 3/8, which segues back into the initial 6/8, only now for the Scherzo.
SCHERZO: Introduced by a building pivot chord above a quasi-waltz obbligato in the cello, we modulate to "IV" for the scherzo. Within this G tonicization, however, a recurring N6 / V retains the desired resolution of the old key in simultaneity. Truncated, and at double-tempo, the theme is repeated in rapid succession, and thus remains omnipresent throughout, both, the Grave and Scherzo. At the golden mean of the scherzo, Theme-A returns in full for the final time. Thereafter, it is fragmented and metrically syncopated over a Dorian circle of fifths. This quotes Mahler's 1st symphony consistently in the cello, though at times, in Violin 2.
• MOVEMENT 2: Adagio: Juxtaposed to the dense Grave and Scherzo, the Adagio yields rhythmic simplicity, and harmonic stability. Melodically it features second-species counterpoint, and homophony with contrapuntal enlivening. Jocund in mood, the 2nd movement aims to move the listener to a place akin to the eye of a storm, between two serious and dense movements.
Notably, it features new and extended techniques— instruments lain across the lap, to facilitate the rapid and complex chordal pizzicati. Violin 1 uses what I call “unghia pizzicato”— “fingernail plucking.” This allows pitches between C6 and F6 to speak better.
• MOVEMENT 3: Allegro Moderato: The final movement takes material from the Grave, Scherzo, and Adagio. While its theme is entirely its own, and in 4/4, is often accompanied by the 3/4 theme of the first movement. This first occurs in measure five with the entrance of the cello. Like the end of a concerto, the final movement features an accompanied “quasi-cadenza” from both the violin 1, and later the viola. After this, the tempo continues to accelerate, event-by-event, until the final 3 chords, each pivoting from V/iv to I. The final I chord holds a picardy third, which leaves some ambiguity to hear it, again, as a V/iv.
The Gilgamesh Quartet by Immanuel Abraham; Mvt. 1
The Gilgamesh Quartet by Immanuel Abraham; Mvt. 2
The Gilgamesh Quartet by Immanuel Abraham; Mvt. 3
The Star-Spangled Banner for 5 Violins
Arr. by Immanuel Abraham
Caprice No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 2
Caprice No. 18 in G Minor, "The Broken Tango"
Caprice No. 17 in D Major, Op. 2
Caprice No. 6 in E flat minor,
"The Neopolitan Caprice"
Caprice No. 8 in G Minor, "Solitude"
Piano Sonata No. 1, Mvt. 1
Piano Sonata No. 1, Mvt. 2
Piano Sonata No. 1, Mvt. 3 "FUGUE"