The concept for this piece began with an interest in continual and dramatic contrast. As the music was taking shape, the title Rift & Shade came to represent a visual manifestation of this idea. With only a small rift in the walls of a cavern, a piercing light and a deep shade can coexist in the same environment. The quartet mimics the stark contrasts of this image musically. In the first movement, the contrast is realized with a rapid alternation between several short gestures, each of which occupies a unique sonic space. In the second movement, the quick timbral changes are replaced by extreme registral contrasts, with the violins playing in their highest possible range, while the cello and viola play in their lowest.