Delayed Send

for loosely synchronized string quartet


During this pandemic, communication and its attendant issues have been on my mind. Recently I had the experience of playing Frederic Rzewski’s Les Moutons de Panurge with remote players. The bassoonist summed it up best: “As soon as we started, there were five different tempos” — which I thought would make a fun constraint for this piece. Two memories inform the title, Delayed Send. Long ago, I read of a movie where two lovers are separated by time and space, as one travels to a distant planet while the other stays on Earth. They are able to send and receive messages, but with ever-increasing delays and loss of fidelity. This rather poetic plot device also reminds me of my time working on Gmail, where Undo Send, Delayed Send, and their accidental companion, Delayed Delivery, were all plagues upon the engineering team. This piece quotes Elena Kats-Chernin’s darkness and Aaron Copland’s Violin Sonata.

Delayed Send was premiered online (where else?) by Friction Quartet at Center for New Music on November 29, 2020.