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My new piece, Quintet, is written for a mixed ensemble—oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, and contrabass—whose repertoire has (like several of my other recent chamber works, it occurs) a singular, large-looming precedent.
In this case, it’s a pretty obvious one to those who take a connoisseur’s interest in rarities like the mixed wind/string chamber repertoire: a piece of the same name by Sergei Prokofiev—his Op. So much so, that one, in naming the piece (“the Schubert Octet”; “the Prokofiev Quintet”; “the Debussy Trio”, etc.) actually describes the ensemble, no matter whose music is being played. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble program called , which also featured works by Ravel, Saint-Saëns, and Debussy.
Originally intended as the first half of an equally balanced two-part Sonata, this movement quickly grew long and unwieldy for what I had planned, owing to the dictates of the musical materials themselves.
The immediate solution was to complete , and return at a later date to contribute a second part worthy of the cause.
Perhaps the music finds its way toward a bit of both, but the image hit me like a flash after I’d written the last note.
I don’t like spoilers, but I’m inclined give this away: any battery-powered objects that would take it upon themselves to attempt such a charmingly useless human act as was commissioned for the Claremont Trio by the Claremont Commission Consortium in honor of Calderwood Hall at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA, and premiered there on January 22, 2012.
"Slow waltz of the robots" is a pretty blunt take on something that, depending one’s view of such things, might be anywhere from sadly beautiful to horrifying and grotesque.He embraced, for example, both the high restraint of Neoclassicism and the fascination with machines and mechanical environments so thick in the air at the time, as evidenced in his first two symphonies.The contrast between them is stark, and startling, and yet they are both symphonies that could have been written by no one else.The piece is dedicated to oboist Liang Wang with admiration.— Sean Shepherd was a welcome break from working with larger forces just before and after.