This non-programmatic, contemplative work was written in the first months of 2000. After the cello quietly opens the work with haunting harmonics, the other players join in presenting the first sonic portrait of the introduction. This opening portrait, concluding with the cello plucking the open strings, serves to elucidate the central tone row of the first large section. The row’s most recognizable characteristic is the alternation of perfect fifths and ascending chromatic steps. The open fifths of the row were useful in writing idiomatically for the strings.
After a foreshadowing of the slow second section, the introduction concludes with a trill in the violin and harmonics in the viola. The rest of this section is a brisk allegro as the writing begins to take on an agitated character. This agitated frustration results in a climax with stratospheric writing for all the instruments. This material attempts to reassert itself following the climax, but it is finally subdued as the meditative second section ensues. This section, recalling material from the introduction, is designed to portray wistfulness and reflection through the open, sonorous harmonies and drone techniques.
The only truly tonal moment in the piece comes after an intense, passionate harmonic progression leading to a plaintive yet restful cadence in G major. The cello harmonics which began the work are superimposed on this G major chord. The chord finally dies away, as the mysterious, serial introduction is recapitulated in the coda. The eerie end to this abstract work is nevertheless dramatic, exhibiting a sense of longing, or even loss.
— Philip Rothman