Title: Ebb & Evanesce
Year Completed: 2006
Duration: 5 mins
Instrumentation: String Quartet
Credits: Written for the New York Miniaturist Ensemble
Premiere: May 12, 2007, The Chelsea Art Museum, New York City: New York Miniaturist Ensemble 

Purchase/Rent: Canadian Music Centre

The disappearance of emotion, the fading away, the numbness that only time and distance allows. Written in two movements the work is a kind of theme and variation.  Ebb and Evanesce was written for the New York Miniaturist Ensemble who requested a work of 100 or less notes.  The listener will hear well over 100 notes, however the score itself contains a total of 99 notes, discounting tied notes, trills and mordents, repeat signs and notes in brackets (specifically in the second movement where a bracketed note signifies approximate arrival points).

Movement one is in a two-part binary structure, fast and slow.  The open begins with a chromatic cluster that expands rapidly.  Violin 1 takes the lead while others repeat pizzicato notes.  Violin 2 picks up the melody followed by a variation and return of Violin 1.  The last half becomes static and lyric, melancholy music that slowly fades into oblivion.

Movement two contains a long glissando that eventually arrives at the same closing material, albeit stretched in time.  The opening hints at the chromatic cluster and a continuous glissando creates microtones and fluxuations in beat patterns.  Formally a large scale ritardando is written into the music, the slowing down of time and memory. Furthermore the instruments are asked to perform with the wood part of the bow and non vibrato.

In movement 2 the glissando is to be performed as continuously as possible. Notes in brackets show what pitch you should be at at particular times, but do not ‘sit’ on the note once you’ve reached it, instead continue the glissando.  Various beat patterns will emerge because of the microtonal tunings created in the glissando.

derek charke ebb and evanesce