Differences Within Oneness is composer Kui Dong’s first ‘pure’ string quartet and is performed here by the masterful Arditti Quartet. In many ways, the piece is a study in heterophony. Dong approaches the piece as if composing for a single multifaceted instrument rather than for an ensemble. As such, the piece is driven more by timbre, rhythm, texture, and subtle microtonality than by typical harmonic and melodic development. Arditti Quartet expertly executes the work’s ten movements of highly contrasting densities.
Technically speaking, Differences Within Oneness is Dong’s first foray into the string quartet repertoire. Her previous works for string quartet featured traditional Chinese instruments or were segments of larger works. Despite the weight and density of existing repertoire for the string quartet, Dong absolutely rose to the occasion and delivered a work that showcases her unique compositional voice.