for string quartet

Composed: 2003
Duration: 6'

Program Notes

Like many of my pieces, Axegrinder began as a title incorporating a play on words, instead of a purely musical idea. Musicians will immediately recognize the word “axe” as slang for “instrument,” especially string instruments. Likewise, the opening sounds of the piece not only remind me of the sound of a blade being ground on a whetstone but could be heard as grinding the instruments themselves. Beyond that, the idea of “having an axe to grind,” or of being obsessed with a certain idea, informed my choice of material, which is very limited. The entire work, with the exception of the extended viola solo – perhaps a person trapped in conversation with an axegrinder – is derived in one way or another from the opening sonority. Axegrinder is basically ternary in form, with the opening section spinning out of control into the contrasting B section (the viola solo). The work then returns to the opening material and revs up the whetstone on the way to the conclusion.

Score and Recording

Click the PDF icon below for a viewable score in PDF format. For a printable score and other performance materials, including the necessary software, please contact me.

Link to PDF of score