Of String and Touch

A passionate, exciting, and lyrical duet.

(Viola and Piano).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2006)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 16 pages, 8.5" x 11".


Premiered in April 2006 in Abilene, TX.
by Peter Neubert, viola and Stacy Kwak, piano.


Audio clip of "Of String and Touch" performed by
Peter Neubert, viola, and Stacy Kawk, piano, in a live concert.




Listen to an audio clip of
Of String and Touch
for viola and piano


View a page from the score to
Of String and Touch
for viola and piano
view score
Listen to an audio clip of
Of Wood and Touch
for cello and piano
Listen to an audio clip of
Of Bow and Touch
for double bass and piano

Purchase this score

Score and part available from Activist Music:
$25.00 print; $17.00 digital.





Of String and Touch is a passionate piece for a viola and piano duo, and offers an adventurous cellist a broad range of music to explore within a single movement. This sonata is an adaptation of my 1999 bassoon and piano work, Of Breath and Touch. Not all pieces lend themselves to new incarnations, but this one seems to be particularly well suited to the intensities of a bow in lieu of a bassoonist's bocal.


There is also a successful adaptation of this piece for double bass and piano, titled Of Bow and Touch, which was given an award from the International Society of Double Bassists in 2001, and violist Peter Neubert suggested and aided in bringing the piece to his neck of the wooded instruments, with this powerful iteration.



Beck and Call CD
The bassoon and piano version of this piece, Of Breath and Touch, is featured on Carolyn Beck's 2005 CD, Beck and Call, on Crystal Records CD 846. Click CD for more info.  


Email Alex for the access code
to download a perusal score!


download perusal score




Review of the double bass version of this piece, "Of Bow and Touch," by Hans Sturm in the 2001 edition of Bass World:


Of Bow and Touch is a dramatic work with beautiful bass melodies and an intriguing use of harmony and texture.


The piece begins with a striking introduction: pedaled E flats in the piano echo over four octaves in the lower register. The bass enters majestically with a double dotted theme over long held low chords. After a brief fermata, the A theme appears, featuring broken sixteenth notes arpeggios in the piano, beginning with strong accents that slowly die away. While the piano texture remains consistent throughout the A section, the bass melody begins as an arc of long held notes, punctuated by sixteenth note flourishes and dotted syncopations.


After an extended passage of fast rhythms spiccato, the melody reappears before the rubato B theme is established. Rich quiet harmonies support a lyric bel canto, yet complex rhythms in the melody. Slight ritardandos alternate with a tempo bars in 6/4 throughout the B section.


A virtuosic cadenza marked "very freely, improvisation is encouraged" further embellishes the melody with double stops, sixteenth note triplet arpeggios, and intricate runs. The B theme returns, followed by a highly syncopated contrapuntal passage that accelerates into the final statement of the A section.


Of Bow and Touch is a very effective and accessible work, with artful melodies and inventive use of harmonies and textures.






Curious to see the version with double bass?
Enjoy this great performance of OF BOW AND TOUCH
from bassist Ron Wasserman
and pianist Alan Moverman, recorded at
the National Opera Center in New York City on March 5, 2021:







Enjoy this video of cellist Aude Castagna
and pianist Ben Dorfan performing
OF WOOD AND TOUCH on March 20, 2016
in Santa Cruz, CA:



Of String and Touch, page 13    
Of String and Touch page 13


Also available as:

Of Wood and Touch

(for Cello and Piano).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2001)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
One movement work. 16 pages, 8.5" x 11".


Audio clip of "Of Wood and Touch" performed by Gianna Abondolo, cello, and Teresa McCollough, piano, in a live concert.


Also available as:

Of Bow and Touch

(for Double Bass and Piano).
Total duration ca. 10 minutes (2000)
Published by Activist Music (ASCAP).
Adaptation of "Of Breath and Touch,"
commissioned in 1999 by Carolyn Beck.
One movement work. 16 pages, 8.5" x 11".







"...a very interesting and effective work."

— Gordon Rumson, Music & Vision Magazine, May 2001



Of Bow and Touch received a 2001 award
from The International Society of Bassists.





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