Music for Airport Furniture


Program Note

Stephen Whittington is something of a musical vagabond, traveling widely and writing music that is often multicultural
in its inspiration.With this in mind, Music for Airport Furniture could be heard as a sublime homage to the act of traveling,
airport to airport.The composer writes about the piece:“Music for Airport Furniture is a work for string quartet that alludes
to Erik Satie’s ‘furniture music’ [Musique d’ameublement]. I was interested in the airport departure lounge as an arena for
human emotions—boredom, apprehension, hope, despair, loneliness, the tenderness of farewells—all taking place within a
bland, often desolate space.” (Music for Airport Furniture, performed by the Zephyr Quartet, is available on the Cold Blue
label, which currently has another album of Whittington’s quartet music in the planning stages.)
“Belying its Satie-esque title, Music for Airport Furniture unravels to reveal a music of sheer elegance and eloquence.” —Peter Garland
“The music is a kind of lament, gorgeous, reflecting, very gradually revealing itself in a state of profound quiescence….There’s nothing quite
comparable to it.”—Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review
“Music for Airport Furniture is a gorgeous minimalist work in which a string quartet broods on limited harmonic material; occasionally, a hint of
melody ruffles its slow-moving and placid (but is it really?) surface.” —Fanfare magazine
“In its wistful tone it calls to mind Schoenberg’s own single-movement piece Verklärte Nacht, with both characterized by dramatic peaks and valleys. . . .
Whittington’s pensive piece registers as a powerfully romantic and plaintive work whose emotional directness is both startling and refreshing.”—Textura
“A taut, refined, barely evolving piece that any devotee of Feldman or Scelsi would appreciate.”—International Record Review
“Music for Airport Furniture places its focus squarely on the human heart…. [T]he string quartet as the vehicle for this piece is inspired; the lush
harmonies, intimate sound and wide range of emotional expression are a perfect match to his musical intentions. . . . The music proceeds in a series
of long, warm phrases, offset by the occasional pizzicato arpeggio in the cello..” —Paul H. Muller, Sequenza21

About Stephen Whittington

Stephen Whittington (b.1953) is a composer, pianist, writer and music critic. Born in Adelaide, he studied at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, and has performed and lectured in Asia, Europe…