I finally decided that my string quartet is finished a couple of days ago (snippet above) and wrote the parts out and sent them to Voxare, who will hopefully be playing the piece in New York some time in the near future.
I’ve been working on this particular piece on and off for about three years now and I’ve thought it was finished a couple of times before I’ve then decided to pull it all apart again and attempt to improve it.
This process raises a number of questions about the nature of composition. When is a piece finished? When do I stop editing? Does a piece have an ideal form, or is it merely material that is shoe-horned into a form that is the choice of the composer? Interestingly, these were exactly the questions I was discussing in the Summer with Michael Finnissy as part of an interview I was conducting for What Else? Magazine. The feature based on that interview should be published in the magazine soon and I will post the link to it here when it is.