Movement Two is based on a recording made by Alan Lomax in 1948 at the Mississippi State Penitentiary (Parchman Farm in Sunflower County MS.) In this recording one hears the women’s detail striking axes together in a slow grooving tempo, as the women sing a two phrase work song, endlessly repeating. My musical presentation begins and ends with the players tapping their instruments in imitation of the axes. The two-phrase theme follows and is repeated again and again, becoming more and more abstracted until it dissolves into nothing but the sound of the axes hitting, fading.
Smart, Gary, "Three Fantasies on African American Songs for String Quartet - II Black Woman (Recording)" (2019). Music Faculty Publications. 42.