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The Concept

A Metaphor that Whistles
Osvaldo Golijov sometimes wonders whether he's chosen "the right metaphor" for a piece. Before Kronos sat down to rehearse his arrangement of "Mini Skirt," Golijov described the effect he's after.

The Rehearsal

Getting Started
Kronos Quartet spent an hour and 20 minutes on their first rehearsal of "Mini Skirt." Here's raw sound of the first minute.

Too Classical?
What's it like in the heat of rehearsal? Listen in on raw sound of Kronos at work — practicing, debating, and considering the musical question, Pink Panther or James Bond?

Debating a Slide
An hour into the rehearsal, arranger Osvaldo Golijov suggests a new way to play one of Esquivel's licks — without a slide. But which way really sounds better?

Practicing an Overdub
Near the end of the rehearsal, Kronos tries out the "overdubs" — extra parts that will fit over the basic quartet tracks. The music takes shape as Kronos tries different ways of phrasing one of the overdubs.

The Methods

Cello Video
How do you play Esquivel's mod bass line . . . on a cello? Kronos cellist Jennifer Culp demonstrates how she makes it snap with a sturdy guitar pick.

Play Like You're a Hotel Guest
Osvaldo Golijov's arrangement of "Mini Skirt" calls for Kronos to use practice mutes. Normally, musicians only resort to these in hotels where other guests want to sleep. Kronos second violinist John Sherba shows how the tone color changes as he switches from an ordinary mute, to a heavy practice mute, to no mute at all . . .

Play Like You're a Trumpet
Kronos isn't rehearsing for a concert. The group is preparing for a recording project — in the spirit of Esquivel. Effects will sometimes alter the sound of the instruments. Hank Dutt's viola will sometimes be processed to resemble a trumpet. He explains how that makes him play differently.


Silly Like Mozart
Kronos has recorded music by some of today's most formidable composers: Górecki, Schnittke, Gubaidulina. But Esquivel? After rehearsing "Mini Skirt" for the first time, Harrington and Golijov say he's silly — like Mozart.

Not Trying to be Perfect
Kronos is at work on an album inspired by Mexico. For now, they're calling it, Nuevo. Cellist Jennifer Culp describes how the quartet is trying to capture the spirit of Mexican musicians.

Copyright 2002 NPR