Augusta Read Thomas: CHI for String Quartet
The world premiere of CHI for string quartet was given by the Spektral Quartet in historic Rockefeller Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago. The music was composed for the extraordinary spiritual qualities and acoustic properties of Rockefeller Chapel’s grand cathedral space.
The Chinese refer to the vital life force energy of the universe, present within every living thing, as 'Chi'. Chi has been studied for over ten thousand years, from China and Japan to India, the Hawaiian Islands and South America. Chi is the energy of life itself, recognized as the balance of Yin and Yang (male and female, positive and negative, electromagnetic energy), which flows through everything in creation. The power of Chi emits soulful colors (the Aura), giving expressive vibrational frequency, and sound. Chi flows through the body pathways - known as Meridians (highpoints) and Chakras (deep, subtle spiritual nodes of the profound essential center) - of all living forms.
Commissioned by Rockefeller Memorial Chapel and the Spektral Quartet, CHI for string quartet is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Elizabeth Davenport and the Spektral Quartet. Augusta Read Thomas
"Chi for string quartet “packs some real intensity and passion with its four movements named after aspects of the life force. The Spektral Quartet gives an engaging, exciting and fully committed performance, one which helps to clearly identify Thomas as a master of the art form." Stuart Sillitoe, MusicWeb International Ritual Incantations Recording
"Chi is based on the Chinese concept of life force. There was plenty of life force running through this concise work, which engaged. Spektral played it with obvious affection, and Chi said a lot in less than 15 minutes. I’d welcome the chance to hear it again, as well as more from Thomas." Mr. Leslie Gerber, The Boston Musical Intelligencer