Cicada larvae live underground for years, creeping about slowly and peacefully in the darkness until that sudden, beautiful brief moment when, one warm, damp summerís eve, they emerge, metamorphosed into a highly mobile life form. Gaily they dance in the sunshine, singing ardently to the trees in all their greenery --- but only for a short while, for, just as suddenly, they are gone. The same process repeats year upon year. The "life cycle" of this string quartet resembles that of the cicada. Initially, two embryonic cells remain hidden within dense, gloomy note-clusters; over time they evolve into buds, grow and then blossom. They appear for the first time in their "adult form" in the fast middle section, where they assume the shape of two very popular Chinese folk melodies, "Jasmine" and "Old Six Blows", albeit in wholly chromaticized and defamiliarized variants. After their grand efflorescence, these forms gradually dissolve into transparent wisps of sound.
Vienna, April 2018
Translation: Michael Talbot