from a future history
Stanley Grill
Camerata Philadelphia
Catalog Number: 
#1 048
new classical
string quartet

Haworth, NJ

Release Date: 
Oct 23, 2020
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

AFTERWARDS... presents music that imagines a world different from the one we find ourselves in today, music that strives towards a sound that might be heard in a world where violence is no longer the ready answer to people’s disputes, a world where reason prevails, a calmer world.  On this album, the vehicle for this expression of hope is the string quartet, an ensemble about which composer Stanley Grill writes,  “it is the string quartet that has mostly occupied my attention over the years, as the intimate sound of a small consort of bowed strings is the perfect medium to express the contemplative sound landscape I strive to create.”  The music presented on this album reflects the same themes that dominate much of Stanley Grill’s work: an attempt to influence the minds and hearts of those who hear it in such a way as to encourage thoughts about the possibility of world peace, as well as music composed in an attempt to translate something about the nature of the physical world.

About his music, Stanley Grill writes that “I am driven by a strong desire to create music that does more than entertain, but moves people to think about the urgent problems all of us face today.”  This, his fourth album, takes that goal a step further, centered around quartets composed as part of his personal Music for Peace project, as well as works that are evocative of a quiet, interior, meditative space that provides a musical counter to the chaotic, passion driven world around us. 

The album opens with a three movement quartet entitled, Afterwards, there were no more wars (from a future history).  The music imagines a time, when a child might open a school history book and read those words.  “In my imagination, there exists another world – one far better than this one – where people recognize the benefits of working together to the betterment of all and finding non-violent solutions to conflicts.”

Dreaming of a Better World, as the title suggests, is another work in Stanley Grill’s Music for Peace series. “While the optimism of my youth in the ‘60s that real change in how humans deal with one another was possible has largely collapsed in the face of reality, as the world we live in today turns increasingly ugly, it becomes all the more important for me to bring beautiful music into the world that dreams of something better.”  Each movement is characterized by rising swirls of sound that symbolize hope for our better future.

The Time is Past is intended to capture an innocence preserved in Appalachian folk tunes that form the basis of the four movements of this quartet. For the composer, such songs seem to hark back to a day that the world has bypassed. “The melodies in this work were taken from a small but wonderful collection of Jean Ritchie’s, one of my favorite books of music. These are not settings of the songs for string quartet, but rather music that reflects back on those tunes, as if seen through the distance of time and haze of memories from my childhood.”

The albums closing quartet, The Beckoning Stars, attempts to capture the complex feelings evoked by looking up at the vast night field of stars. “The high melody in the first violin is the distant stars, so out of reach. The cello is me, grounded on earth, unable to do more than think about and yearn for the stars. The middle section of the piece, with its sudden flurries of motion, was intended to represent the energetic fluxes of energy in the depths of space out of which stars and everything else we know are born. At the end, the stars continue to flash indifferently in the sky, while below on earth I fall silent…”

The music is performed by string players of Camerata Philadelphia, violinists Luigi Mazzocchi and Blake Espy, violist Jonathan Kim, and Camerata Philadelphia music director and cellist Stephen Framil. About the players, Stanley Grill writes that “working with Camerata Philadelphia is always a great pleasure. They get my music completely – and perfectly capture the contemplative spirit with which it was written.”

AFTERWARDS... was produced by violinist/violist and founding ETHEL member Ralph Farris and recorded, engineered and mixed by Randall Crafton at Kaleidoscope Studio in Union City, NJ.