Karim Al-Zand





12 minutes
18 minutes with dialogue


string quartet:
2 violins, viola, cello


Discursus 1: Colloquy
Discursus 2: Monologue
Discursus 3: Dialogues
Discursus 4: Non Sequitur
Discursus 5: Recitative
Discursus 6: Cross Talk
Discursus 7: Fugue


Enso String Quartet


October 18, 2007
Bowling Green New Music and Art Festival
Bowling Green OH

String Quartet No. 3

The Art of Conversation

seven dialogues for string quartet

about the piece:

String Quartet No. 3 The Art of Conversation was written for the Enso String Quartet as a work both for their regular concerts and for their many “outreach” programs, designed to introduce audiences to aspects of chamber music-making. From its earliest origins, the string quartet has been regarded as the perfect medium for dynamic and refined musical interaction, often likened to a lively “conversation” among companions. imageUsing this analogy, a full presentation of The Art Of Conversation features short spoken dialogues, performed by the quartet, which alternate with the seven movements of the piece. Each conversation parallels the type of musical “discourse” featured in the subsequent movement. The spoken material is omitted in a concert version of the piece, but listeners will quickly identify the sort of group dynamic being played out in each movement: the first has the instruments cooperating, the second is a monologue for the first violin, the third features two distinct duos, and so on. In terms of musical material, the piece is cast as a loose set of variations.