Loretta Notareschi String Quartet: OCD

In the autobiographical tradition of the string quartet since the time of Beethoven, Loretta Notareschi’s String Quartet OCD sketches the emotional landscape of the composer’s experience with postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder in the year following her daughter’s birth. Postpartum OCD, which affects approximately 3 to 5% of mothers, is characterized by intense fear and anxiety, in response to which mothers develop repetitive coping behaviors. The first movement of String Quartet OCD, “Intruders,” portrays the intrusive thoughts (obsessions) of the disease in all their suddenness and violence. The second movement, “You Must Think I’m Made of Candy Glass,” explores the many forms the composer’s compulsions took, including verbal and musical patterns that she required herself to repeat in her mind. The third movement, “Shame,” expresses the grief and despair she felt. Finally, the fourth movement, “A Second Delivery,” traces the jagged path of her recovery from the disease. Although String Quartet OCD dramatizes one person’s personal experience with mental illness, it seeks to give voice to the universal fears of all people about our and our children’s vulnerability in a dangerous world.

String Quartet OCD was commissioned by The Playground Ensemble and premiered in Denver in February 2016.

Read more about String Quartet OCD and Notareschi’s experience in her Essay Before a String Quartet.

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