Many people think of meditation as a time to clear their thoughts, often using a mantra to focus. The piece presented here is not that type of meditation; rather, this is a piece to collect thoughts, examine them, keep or discard them, and see if the result is valid and complete.
Performance notes: Take a deep breath! While there are many opportunities in this piece to take a breath, there are plenty of long notes and semi-long phrases that are best played uninterrupted. Also, respect and use the rests at the beginning and end — these brief silences are part of the composition.
Chords frequently change at unexpected moments in all parts together, requiring good group telepathy to coordinate the precise timing of the changes while keeping a sense of organic, unmetered elasticity in the music. A unison “Du” or soft “Tu” articulation at the chord changes will add clarity to the front edge of the chords, but for the most part, strong articulations should be avoided, to maintain the serenity promised in the title.
Slow, introspective and flowing, this quartet is a perfect metaphor for what the human mind craves when emerging from an extended period of social isolation. Lush, occasionally dissonant harmonies and long phrases invite us to reflect inward, and as the composer suggests, collect and examine our thoughts rather than clear them away. The homophonic chord changes gather the players together into one mind, allowing them to sink into the long-awaited joy of making music with friends. - Glen Shannon