L'ardito e quasi stridente gesto was written for the Arditti Quartet during fall 2005, and the quartet premiered the piece at Harvard University John Knowles Paine Concert Hall on April 2nd of the following year. The piece is a single movement formed by two main parts of distinctive musical character which represent contrasting perspectives of the same tense and resolute feeling. The listener is drawn into full concentration on the sound and character: uneasiness, impatience, and also a certain kind of reposed, are expressed in delicate and subtle musical moments. The sustained material is far from static, consisting usually of fixed harmony transformed by smoothly but continually changing dynamics and timbre. Dynamics are tied to subtle rhythmic pulse within these quiet passages. Each instance of the aggressive music feels like an eruption from this stasis. However, as the piece progresses, these two approaches more and more appear to be complementary aspects of a more complex gestural impulse. The use of varied techniques of articulation, such as ponticello, pizzicato, harmonics, along with rapid and highly specific shifts in tempo and dynamics, create a fluid, kaleidoscopic surface. The quartet is two duets, or a trio-plus-one, or four independent voices. Gradually the piece spreads out, with the sustained secondary music becoming more and more prevalent while the aggressive music recedes. Silence is now, the main source of tension. Detailed oppositional gestures—loud versus soft, sharp articulation versus sustained, pizzicato versus arco, and so forth, are used locally to provide contrast and forward motion, and globally to provide stabilizing structural reference points as well as to differentiate the different harmonic worlds and give the feeling of distance and space. L'ardito e quasi stridente gesto won the Second Prize in the Troisieme Concours International du Quatuor Molinari 2006 and First Prize in the Premio de Composición Musical Julián Carrillo 2007.