Higdon’s Lark

  Composer Jennifer Higdon.

  • “An Exaltation of Larks”.


This recording is about an excellent string quartet group, performing several musical compositions by one of America’s most experienced composers. The title work reflects the composer’s intent to describe a group of birds, and the music does just that. The four instruments come together and move apart, just like flocking bird do.

This work was composed more than ten years ago on a commission from the Tokyo String Quartet.

In “Scenes from the Poet’s Dreams” the piano takes a prominent part in the unfolding of this highly contrasted work, which carries several unusually descriptive titles:

  • Racing Through Stars
  • Summer Shimmers Across the Glass of Green Ponds etc.

This work was commissioned by the Lark Quartet, and by Gary Graffman, who had lost the use of his right hand. The piano part is for left hand only, and Ms. Higdon uses this restriction as a creative resource. The piano becomes a fifth single-line instrument, completely integrated into the ensemble.


“Light Refracted” is a musical meditation on light, scored for string quartet, clarinet and piano. The composer describes a first movement that reflects on our inner light, and how we take that light in; and a second movement that is the opposite: our own projection of light out to the world.

Here is an excerpt from Jennifer Higdon’s “An Exaltation of Larks”:



Tags: Jennifer Higdon, Gary Graffman, Exaltation of Larks, Scenes from the Poet’s Dreams, Light Refracted