As a kid, I went on a handful of long road trips with my family. Originating in Florida, we went on a couple of trips up the east coast via I-95, one trip through the midwest via I-75, and one trip across the country via I-10 and then up the California coast via the Pacific Coast Highway. My cross country trip forms the foundation of this string quartet.
The first movement reflects the excitement of hitting the road and represents our first day of driving, taking I-75 to I-10 in order to leave Florida. A constantly running 16th note oscillation pervades the air and gives a sense of runaway speed. After leaving Florida, we spent three days on I-10 crossing the country, stopping only to cross the border in Mexico at Ciudad Juarez. The second movement imagines the car radio remaining on throughout this stretch, as the signal morphs from blues to mariachi. A rhythmic pizzacato figure ties the two juxtaposed styles together. After we made it to Los Angeles, we traveled up the California coast, enjoying the amazingly beautiful scenery of the Pacific Coast Highway, as well as the impressive fog banks of northern California. The third movement begins with a cello melody surrounded by a hazy atmosphere, and after a nostalgic reference to the opening movement the sun breaks through the fog.
Road Trip was written for Colin Sorgi, violinist and music director of the SONAR new music ensemble. The recordings below are of Tea Prokes, violin 1; Amelia Giles, violin 2; Linnea Powell, viola; and Jeremy Crosmer, cello.
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