for string quartet (2023)
Mina Loy, Communal Cot, 1949.
Cut-paper and mixed-media collage mounted on board.
Composed for string quartet, ABOVE is inspired by Communal Cot (1949), a cut-paper and mixed-media collage by Mina Loy, who had an entire dedicated exhibit at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Loy was one of the most inscrutable artists and poets of the twentieth century - whether she was writing poems, plays, drawings, paintings, assembling lampshades or writing a feminist manifesto - she was an important poet and artist of transatlantic modernism.
Communal Cot is fashioned from found materials - Loy brought to her shabby materials an acute sense of the cost involved for those who searched the garbage cans, those who lived at the bottom of the heap. At the same time, she saw such figures as saintly, as in this depiction of sleeping derelicts as a contemporary version of the twelve apostles.
This recording of ABOVE was from the piece’s premiere on July 30th, 2023, in Studzinski Hall at the Bowdoin International Festival of Music. The performers are Kayla Bryan (violin I), Daniel Dastoor (violin II), Suzie Wanshu Qiu (viola), and Camden Archambeau (cello).
Scores available upon request.