La volubile volute évolutive (2003)

Cléo Palacio-Quintin

string quartet

Commission: Quatuor Bozzini, with support from the CCA


Program Notes

This “talkative evolutional volute” (a volute is a spiral scroll found at the top of a Greek column) is a short piece conceived and developed in its entirety around a spiral structure. Each musical element is based on the Fibonacci series. During the execution of the work, the violinists and the viola follow a spiral drawn on the floor. Each of the four parts of the work are comprised of a section “in motion” and also a “motionless” section, both unraveling the way a spiral curve expands and lengthens as it moves away from its point of origin. According to the same logic, and based on the cello’s low “C,” the harmonic pattern uses chords based on intervals that correspond to numbers of the Fibonacci series, with leaps of 34 hertz (part 1), to 55 hertz (part 2), 89 hertz (part 3), 114 hertz (part 4). The work’s harmonic pattern uncoils in an evolutionary way, according to the natural proportions of this famous mathematical sequence.