NOVA’s October 26th concert features music by Bach, Mendelssohn, and Michael Hicks. A composer, performer, scholar, and poet, Mr. Hicks has received countless accolades for his compositions and has been teaching at BYU since 1985. Hicks is the author of four books: Mormonism and Music: A History (1989), Sixties Rock: Garage, Psychedelic, and Other Satisfactions (1999), Henry Cowell, Bohemian (2002), and Christian Wolff (2012, co-authored with Christian Asplund), all published by University of Illinois Press. He is currently authoring a fifth book, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir: A Biography (forthcoming 2015). His historical and analytical articles have appeared in books such as the Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World and the forthcoming Oxford Handbook to Mormonism as well as journals that include American Music, Journal of Aesthetic Education, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Musical Quarterly, and Perspectives of New Music.
NOVA will be presenting his string quartet, Strategy of Looms, along with the second performance of his new work for two violins/three hands, Diode. Below are program notes by the composer along with video footage of a performance of Diode earlier this month- Alexander and Aubrey Woods performing in Madsen Recital Hall at BYU on October 9, 2014.
Strategy of Looms (1991)
In this piece I approached the string quartet as a kind of loom by which different kinds of “weaves” might be created in the changing relationships of its voices. The title of the piece alludes partly to my personal “strategy” of assembling different kinds of weaves into a single large form. The title also refers to what one might call the “loom strategy” of Penelope: in order to repel her would-be suitors (while Odysseus was adventuring), she wove all day then unraveled her weaving at night so as to make it seem her task was never done. I think the piece exudes some of Penelope’s passion as she ruminated on her beloved’s absence.
In electronics a diode is a device that allows current to move through it in one direction far more easily than in the other. When I was writing an earlier duo for Alex and Aubrey Woods to perform together, an injury briefly prevented Alex from using his right arm to play. So I wrote a new piece, in which one player uses only his left hand while the other uses both. The two players, both with hints of electrical current in their gestures, negotiate different plausible ways of playing together until they finally compromise in a tentative unity.