String Quartet #1 begins in a straightforward minimalist style, reminiscent of Philip Glass, built around a recurring sequence of four chords centered on an Ab-Cb minor third. Eventually, however, the music gets hung up on a syncopated dissonant chord, and takes a sudden sharp turn in a radically different direction, with aggressive runs in the cello and viola, sliding half steps and octaves in the violins, and a shifting series of off-kilter, dissonant grooves. After building to a searing climax, it dies down; there is a pause; and then, very softly and gently, rising from the wreckage, those opening four chords slowly rise up, re-worked into a tenderly lyrical, almost pop-like ballad. The sequence keeps repeating and building, getting stronger and more confident. A violin melody soars on top, then a duo between the two violins, unabashedly lyrical, emotional, pleading. It winds down. The instruments drop out one by one, until a lone cello fades into silence.