Matt Sargent performs “The Fragility of Time" at the Figge Art Museum -- March 3.

Sunday, March 3, 1 p.m.

Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second Street, Davenport IA

Composed by James Romig and performed by Matt Sargent, the stunning, hour-long composition for solo guitar The Fragility of Time will be presented at Davenport's Figge Art Museum on March 3, the afternoon performance marking the first time that Romig’s new and engaging work will be presented in a museum environment.

Commissioned by Matt Sargent and completed in 2022, The Fragility of Time's temporal structure comprises two complete cycles of a 13:14:15 ratio, resulting in a pair of identical rhythmic palindromes that divide the composition into two equal parts and provide a framework for the work’s harmonic material. During the first half, four of the six diatonic pitch-classes heard at the start are gradually replaced by substitutes that produce increasingly chromatic sonorities. At the midpoint of the piece, the permutational process is reversed and the original hexachord is progressively reconstituted over the remaining half hour. In stark contrast to its companion piece The Complexity of Distance, a 2020 work scored for electric guitar with extreme distortion and feedback, The Fragility of Time calls for an unprocessed amplification that allows for subtle shading of dynamics, micro-variations in articulation and timbre, intervals of silence, and an introspective, contemplative mood.

Composer James Romig endeavors to create intricate musical compositions in which isomorphic designs exert influence on both small-scale iteration and large-scale structure, obscuring boundaries between content and form. Webs of overlapping systems generate multivalent sonic environments that invite listeners to become enmeshed in a dreamlike intermingling of past, present, and future. Critics have described his work as “rapturous, slow-moving beauty” (the San Francisco Chronicle), “developing with the naturalness of breathing” (The New Yorker), and “profoundly meditative" and "haunting” (The Wire). His Still, for solo piano, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize, while The Complexity of Distance, composed for electric guitarist Mike Scheidt of the venerable doom metal band YOB, reached number eight on the Billboard classical crossover chart and inspired Seattle's Holy Mountain Brewing to create a namesake beer in its honor. Romig is a two-time Copland House award recipient and has served as artist-in-residence at national parks including Everglades, Grand Canyon, and Petrified Forest.

Matt Sargent is a composer, guitarist, recording engineer, and music technologist based in upstate New York, where he is an assistant professor of music at Bard College. His music grows from interests in resonance, the making/breaking of patterns, and computer models of musical thought. Over the last decade, his work has focused extensively on musical algorithms and real-time notation systems, which can be heard in his compositions and technical collaborations with other artists. His albums include Illuminations, Bend, Between Time and After, Tide, Separation Songs, and Ghost Music. His compositions, meanwhile, have been described as “bringing a sharpened sense of the transcendental into the 21st century" (Sequenza21), with the artist's Bend described by Research Music as “a guitar record retrieved from far in the future.”

The Fragility of Time will be performed in Davenport on March 3, admission to the 1 p.m. solo presentation is free, and more information is available by calling (563)326-7804 and visiting

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