You can download the score by clicking here: –> About Bach Score


March 19, 2016
Cluster Integrated Arts and New Music Festival, Winnipeg
Quatuor Bozzini
May 8, 2015
AngelicA Festival, Bologna (premiere)
Quatuor Bozzini


This work was awarded the 2016 Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music, Canada’s highest honour for composition.


This string quartet is an expansion of a solo work for viola (of the same name) which was commissioned by philanthropist Daniel Cooper for violist Pemi Paull. It’s a piece about process, about Pemi’s musicality, about Bach of course, and in the end, about the Quatuor Bozzini.

I first took a recording of a short phrase (the first phrase in major) of the famous Chaconne from Bach’s Partita no. 2, performed live by Pemi. I then meticulously transcribed the recording with the help of some software — this is a process I’ve developed over some years to apprehend the exact rhythmic musicality of a performance, capturing as well various artifacts such as the viola’s upper partials as they change within each bow-stroke.

The opening of the piece is simply this transcribed phrase of Bach, with a harmony of my own making, which turns the phrase into a gently jaunty chorale. From there the phrase goes through a somewhat inaudible process that is simply let to run, until it runs itself out. It’s a constant meandering, a non-developmental piece in an extreme sense. My interest (and freedom) in exploring such a simple form comes directly from working with the Quatuor Bozzini, and this string quartet version is a souvenir of gratitude for years of great inspiration.