Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
On remembering, ceasing to be is a four movement work for large chamber ensemble featuring string quartet. The work focuses on the act of remembering and the disorienting sensation this act can produce. The form intends to question, critique, and reconcile the existential detachment of examining one’s present against the romanticized past and memories of the present imagined in the past. The piece centers the string quartet, both as a genre and ensemble, within this form and tasks the quartet with pervasive elements of what I call “group virtuosity:” a virtuosity that is a focused objective (and also a natural result) of countless hours practicing and performing with the same people. Throughout the work the quartet is asked to periodically abandon the temporality and intonation of the winds and harp and cling to their identity as a single instrumental unit. These episodes come in the forms of insertions of historically important and personally meaningful string quartet literature, sudden shifts between disparate performance practice styles, and long, focused timbral and harmonic juxtapositions against the winds and harp. In these ways, On remembering, ceasing to be musicalizes the moments of separation from the present, both brief and lingering, that occur when remembering the past self and the present self the past imagined.
Courtright, Nathan Daniel, "On Remembering, Ceasing To Be: For String Quartet & Chamber Ensemble" (2022). Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 5486.