Aabac' was written in 2013. The title was conceived before even a note of the music was written, and came from each letter of the name of the dedicatory group (Zzyzx Quartet) being reversed, as it were, in the alphabet, Z becoming A, Y becoming B, and X, C. Thus the name of the Zzyzx Quartet, certainly alphabetically the last among all performing ensembles, generated a name for a work that would be alphabetically first among all pieces of music.
The appeal of the name came because it can be played as notes on the staff, and the four notes A-B-B-flat-C derive naturally from the title. This occurs, since in German notation, the notation 'B' indicates B-flat, while in English, 'B' is B-natural. (In German, 'H' is used to indicate B-natural.) With this tetrachord, the well-known B-A-C-H motive may be presented,, and indeed, this ordering of those pitches is frequently employed in the work.
The tonality of Aabac, pronounced 'aback,'is quite free, and is rather atonal at times. Cast in one continuous movement, the work has several sections that contrast in mood, tempo and complexity.