Love Story in Six Parts


Flight * Timelessness * Questions * Pop song * Mad scene * Coda
Instrumentation: Oboe, two violins, viola, cello
Duration: 14:30


A working title for this piece employed the phrase ‘love progression,’ an idea that concerns one of the handful of common four-chord progressions on which a million and a half pop songs are based.  I’m curious about the idea of cultural common currency, and also about the idea that the harmonic element is simply a given pattern in some songs.  I wanted to know what would happen if I played around with—composed with—such a progression.  Because why not?  Common currency, my currency, history’s currency; the mix of it.  Maybe it’s about wanting to participate, or assume some small piece of ownership, in connection with what I hear in songs around me most days. And the idea of a love progression turns out to extend further in the direction of a narrative, illustrating—perhaps—the progression of a love affair that moves from heady, initial flight through stages of disbelief, potential conflict, blind certainty, drama, and some kind of resolve.

Performance history: Love Story in Six Parts was commissioned by Peggy Pearson and Winsor Music and premiered by Peggy Pearson and the Daedalus Quartet in Philadelphia and in Brookline, MA.