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Can You Stop The Time? (No) (2020)

Technical Information:

2 violins, viola, cello

Duration: 7'

Commissioned by DACAMERA of Houston

Premiered April 10, 2021

Mary Grace Johnson, Tinca Belinsky, violins

Sebastian Stefanović, viola

Bree Ahern, cello

Program Note:


Time is the question, the answer, and the method of life. Despite knowing the units of time and what they roughly mean, this comes second to how we feel it. One could trudge through what feels like hours of a boring lecture, fending off sleep, to have only spent ten minutes. The opposite is true as well. For instance, a whole day with someone you love can pass by like a blur and you may forget what time does to you—sleep, hunger, and life is entirely disregarded.

Can you stop the time? (No) is about this second meaning of time and is a question we’ve all thought about in some form, at some point in our lives. Concurrently, this piece explores textures that resemble time slipping away too quickly, incorporating elements of tremolo, trills, ascending and descending runs, and sudden changes in dynamics.

The moment that we ask “Can you stop the time?” is a moment too precious to forfeit. But time cannot be stopped, so we accept the answer that gives us another option, the future—one with hope and promise of good fortune.

– Nicky Sohn

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