Septet

(1998)

  • Flute, Clarinet, Piano, Percussion, Violin, 'Cello, Bass
  • Duration: 9 min.

Score

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Street, Akko

At its premiere I wrote:

"My septet was composed in May and June of this year in Bennington, Vermont, where I was completing a one-year teaching stint and in Aspen, Colorado. It is in one movement of approximately nine minute duration. Basically, the piece is about tensions and their releases expressed through a series of twelve chords each assigned to a different instrument. One might further divide the movement into three sections which one might perhaps label: agitation, dispersion and reconciliation. I would like to thank the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble and Alastair Willis for their patience and dedication. I hope you enjoy the piece."

I wish I had been better spoken that day.

With acceptance to the master classes at the Aspen School came the opportunity to write a work for the distinguished Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. In preliminary conversations, I was told that they were "phenomenal" and could play anything. Naturally, I thought to write them something challenging. When I listen to this work now I am struck that it is not such a torrid affair as I originally thought but rather something playful, humorous and delicate. The opening seems to me like party guests groping their way through the room and eventually developing their strands into a lively interplay of voices: a conversation if you will. Sorrowful notes are touched upon, a few guests tip-toe about on glass, but mostly the mood is happy. Missteps occur, a couple goes off to the corner for a risque moment and the party gradually coallesces from one focal point to another. Eventually the activity dies down and the host ends the night on a playful note. Now I don't know if the piece is as crass as that, and certainly the great difficulty of ensemble and individual parts hampers the party atmosphere for the players, but then again, don't we all feel a bit on edge when meeting new people?



Performance

Harris Concert Hall, Aspen, Colorado
July 10, 1998

The Aspen Contemporary Ensemble
Ned McGowan, Flute
Michael Norsworthy, Clarinet
Blair McMillan, Piano
Nathan Davis, Percussion
Gabriel Bolkosky, Violin
Lisa McCormick, 'Cello
David Arend, Bass

Alastair Willis, Conductor




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