Works Spectre John Oswald


  • John Oswald
  • Year of composition: 1990
  • Duration: 5:45
  • Instrumentation: string quartet and fixed medium
  • Commission: Kronos Quartet

The camera’s shutter blinks and a moment of the visual world is frozen on film. Still, there is no audible equivalent to the snapshot in the time it takes to sound. Sound takes time. Recordings of Kronos fill Spectre. Successive moments happen often at once. In concert, the musicians add a final overdub to a string orchestra of a thousand and one reflections. This wall of sound of veils of vibration of ghosts of events of past and future continuously present is a virtually extended moment. An occasional freeze marks a moment’s gesture. The title refers to an international crime cartel featured in several of the novels of Ian Fleming, as well as to a certain kingpin of accumulative acoustics, in league with Lucier, Tenney, Ligeti, Dolden, Xenakis, and Wilson.



  • November 4, 1990, Montréal musiques actuelles / New Music America: Kronos Quartet, Le Spectrum de Montréal, Montréal (Québec)