Composer Note In 1991 the Cassatt String Quartet came to play on the [Bang on a Can] festival because another quartet had canceled at the last minute. We didn't know them. When they started to play I was amazed — they were like angels, moving and breathing together. In 1992 I wrote Four Marys for the Cassatt. I thought about how they played as if they were one organism. Four Marys takes the sound world of the mountain dulcimer and magnifies it — the sliding pitches, the crude crying tone, the drone strings, and the ''strumming'' expand throughout the quartet. I spent hours hanging around with them in their apartments, trying out ideas, reworking things, ordering take-out food. This was the beginning of our friendship.
Composer Note While living in Amsterdam [in 1992] I began Early That Summer. I was reading a book about U.S. political history and the author kept introducing small incidents with phrases like ''Early that summer...'' The incidents would eventually snowball into major political crises or events. I realized that the music I was writing was exactly like this — that I was creating a constant state of anticipation and forward build. Early That Summer was written for the Lark Quartet. I asked them to play it the way they play Beethoven. They are so clear and strong, full of fire and aggression.