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Generations String Quartet
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GENERATIONS   by Frank Singer

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a five movement string quartet

commissioned by gannon university

for the 1995 erie bicentennial celebration

for two violins, violin cello, and electric guitar.

I hear the soft music in the background - something classical,
like a string quartet.
Every once in a while, it seemed like I hear a guitar,
blending in with the texture of the other strings.
I walk closer, begin to listen a little more as I explore my surroundings.

The sound is pleasant.
At first, it reminds me of long ago,
of a time when music was meant to be simple and calming.
Medieval, almost.
Then, it becomes more classical, like a fugue.
Counterpoint, the melodies dominating the field,
harmonizing one another in mimicking phrases and counter-themes.

I move closer, tuning in as the violin plays a romantic,
impressionistic theme.
Lyrical melodies move across lush harmonies,
a sensual restraint throughout.
Then, I am sure I hear guitar, as the fourth theme is stated.
Contemporary, the kind of things orchestras play for the second piece.
But it diverges, and suddenly the cello is -
walking a bass line!
And a 20th-century jazz guitar solo ensues.

On my second listen, I hear the four themes beginning the fifth movement,
followed by their coming together as one theme,
unity and diversity.
Each song is sung again, with new perspective,
as each becomes part of the other, and the movement ends,
spiraling off into the future.

As I replay Generations, I hear the story unfolding,
and the question remains:

How will our future Generations know us,
but by our time, the deeds we do, and the seeds we sew?

Generations is about our connections through time. Those who go before weave the threads of the present, and as we live the present we create the future.

The original composition is in five movements. The first movement, which features the second violin, is reminiscent of early medieval music. The second movement, which features the cello, is classical in structure. The third movement, which features the first violin, is romantic in tone. The fourth movement, which features the electric guitar, is in the 20th century style. Each movement borrows from and builds upon the other movements. The fifth and final movement weaves together movements one through four.

The composer gratefully acknowledges Dr. Cherie Haeger of Gannon University for all of her assistance. Thanks also to Gannon University, Melanie Kuebel and the Gannon University Historical Museum, and to the people of Erie, PA for their unending local support.

Learn more about the structure of Generations.

section mp3s   a musical map of the form of Generations


A celebration of our past
Living in the present
Launching the future

The past is our teacher
and foundation of the present
We shape the future
with our every action

Our time brings us together
and Generations will know us
by how we join

Unity brings us to autonomy
It reveals the many ways
we make ourselves

We must seek this unity

Free to soar
in unlimited imagination
Grounded in ownership
of our own actions

This is peace

                    by Frank Singer 1995



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