the lost border dances

Double string quartet, electronics, video [18′]

Commissioned by the Holland Festival 2016 for the Kronos Quartet and Ragazze Quartet.
Premiere June 23 2016 Muziekgebouw Amsterdam.

The title refers to the dances performed by border guards, known as Akrites, during the height of the Byzantine Empire. The transcription of these dances and their modern equivalents found in the traditions of the Pontos, through Northern Greece to the Balkans, is used in the piece as basis for the musical material. There is no reference to the folk music tradition - rather the description of the movements themselves have been translated into musical gesture, and the music re-imagined.

There are 8 dances which are encoded in the music, each quartet alternating in taking the lead, like a dance battle, or a dance-off. The transitions become increasingly longer as the piece progresses, creating a shared sonic space between the re-imagined dances, an uncontested buffer zone.

Video texts
Kronos Quartet and Ragazze Quartet in rehearsal (June 2016, Amsterdam)
Kronos Quartet and Ragazze Quartet in rehearsal (June 2016, Amsterdam)