Richard Brooks

RICHARD BROOKS holds a BS degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music, Potsdam College, an MA in Composition from Binghamton University and a PhD in Composition from New York University. In December 2004 he retired from Nassau Community College where he taught for 30 years; for the last 22 years he served as department chairperson. From 1977 to 1982 he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Society of University Composers (now the Society of Composers, Inc.). From 1993-2002 he served as President of the American Composers Alliance. He is an active composer with over eighty works to his credit, including two full length operas. His children’s opera, Rapunzel, was most recently produced by the Cincinnati Opera giving 65 performances. He was selected as New Music Connoisseur’s New Music Champion for 2006-2007 in recognition of his work with Capstone Records on behalf of new music. He was recently appointed Composer-in-Residence with The Lark Ascending (NYC).

STRING QUARTET no. 3 (2007)

In my Second String Quartet I incorporated fragments of “America the Beautiful” as a response to the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The interval of the minor third plays an important role in the song and I developed a lot of musical figures using descending and ascending minor thirds in various patterns. One pattern in particular appealed to me: a minor third up, a half step up followed by another minor third up. Of course this pattern results in a triad with both a minor and major third.

I had used this construct in several earlier works as it has proven to be a very flexible compositional tool. I recently realized that extending the patter one more half-step-minor third results in the 3-1-3-1-3 all-combinatorial source hexachord discovered by Milton Babbitt. An all-combinatorial hexachord is one in which a pattern of six pitches can be transposed and inverted symmetrically to produce another set of six pitches, thus it can combine with itself and yield all twelve pitches of the chromatic scale without duplication.

The fact that this pattern can produce major and minor triads as well as less tonal patterns appealed to me very much and became the basis for this work The quartet is a single movement with several internal sections of contrasting moods.

Duration: c. 12 minutes

Performance materials are available from the American Composers Alliance.

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