My Four Seasons for cello quartet features a specific scene for each season (recording below is of the 2nd movement – “The Cold Winter Night”). The narrative of each scene/movement is below.
Autumn Morning Above the Fog
From hilltop perches, the fog line frequently lays below our elevation, leaving us with clear, bluebird skies and overlooking a massive sea of fog, with a few other hilltops resembling small islands. This movement is designed to evoke all of the senses that arise from such a moment, not only the sights, but the smells of clean, fresh, slightly damp air, the peaceful sounds, the feeling of being surrounded by cool, clean air.
The Cold Winter Night
A cold winter night, late evening. There is a feeling in the air that snow is coming, or perhaps snow has already started lightly falling or accumulating. It is quite dark, not much can be seen, but there is a definitive sense of movement. The music is not to be played frightfully, but rather anticipatorily. The exact events of the night will only become apparent with the morning sunrise; and although we never reach the sunrise, “The Spring Rains” hints that whatever happened is insignificant in the greater scheme of things, as life moves on.
The Spring Rains
The spring rains are a perpetual force in Portland, Oregon. Because life cannot and must not stop at the hands of the rain a sense of constant progress through the rains (and perhaps building on and benefiting from them) is conveyed through the emergence of a solo line, which is to be continued with improvisation in a similar style for approximately one minute.
Summer in the High Desert
Central Oregon, the High Desert, expansive pine forests. Here the hot air smells and feels even cleaner, but differently. There is a persistent, but pleasant, scent resultant from old volcanic rock that litters the ground and is used in the pavement. In the evening, it is to become cold, but as this happens, a music festival takes place inside a grand wood-lodge-turned-concert-hall.