Línea 2, for string quartet
Metro Nativitas, Metro Taxqueña and Metro Chabacano are stations belonging to one of the lines of the vast Mexico City subway system. My pieces, however, do not seek to portray any particular sonic or visual aspect of the subway. Rather, I hear these pieces like short imaginary cyclical journeys across fleeting urban landscapes. And given their similar inspirational origins and styles I have recently decided to group them under the collective title of Línea 2
Metro Nativitas is rooted on a driving continuous quaver movement, itself sustained by the second violin and viola. From within this moto perpetuo emerge an intertwining chromatic line, reminiscent of salsa and other Latin musics, and a reiterative two-note turn which initiates and closes many of the phrases. The cello provides indefatigable bass line sequences, which arch in and out of the texture and frame the flow by working against the melodic accents.
Metro Taxqueña follows a similar uncomplicated scheme: after a short introduction, the viola initiates a curt melodic line which very gradually takes us to the end of the piece. Thought the movement is moderately slow, violins and cello provide a reiterative accompaniment which grinds against the the melodic accents – a simple mechanism which gives the piece the restless though introspective whim I wished to evoque.
Like Metro Nativitas, Metro Chabacano has a continuous eighth-note movement of moderately driving speed from which short melodic solos from each instrument emerge in turn. The repeated notes give a false sense of simplicity for, although the frases are mostly periodic, the rhythms, accents and fleeting melodic fragments intricately belie the flow of the moto perpetuo.
Metro Nativitas (00) was written for the Brodsky Quartet, who commissioned with funds provided by the Arts Council of England. Metro Taxqueña (94) and Metro Chabacano (88) were commissioned for the Cuarteto Latinoamericano by visual artist Marcos Límenez.
– Note by the composer.