The Trio (1983) for flute, viola, and piano was written as a finale to a concert of new chamber music works I presented in March of 1983. The other two premieres on that concert were the Viola Sonata (1982) and Short Set (1982) for flute and piano.
The work is one of the few traditional four-movement works I have written. I wrote the whole concert as a single design. The Viola Sonata has three sonata-like movements, and Short Set has three ABA song-like movements. The Trio is a combination of the two, with the outer two movements being sonata-like and the inner two movements being song-like. The first two movements are played attacca, and the last two movements are also played attacca, so the work is quite symmetrical.
The work has a festival or reunion feel to it. The first movement is the arrival stage, as the peace and quiet is disturbed by the arrival of the guests. My father’s family was very large and would stage family reunions every Thanksgiving at the local Grange Hall in Woodland, Washington, where upwards of a hundred people would gather. The two inner movements are episodes, and the last movement is the finale which for us was Thanksgiving dinner. I have several relatives whom I still only know from these events.
The first movement is titled Ingathering, which leads directly into the second movement, Waiting for the Sunrise.
The third movement is a quirky Scherzo, which keeps alternating between 2/4 and 3/4, and is followed by a hard-driving Finale.
Trio (1983) is available from American Composers Edition (composers.com) and may be ordered here.
From 1981-84, I wrote and performed one concert of new original chamber music each season. I would choose some colleagues with whom I wished to perform and then would write works using different combinations. However, I never used the music I wrote for the first concert as it proved quite difficult both technically and logistically. Three of the works, however, I later rescored for different combinations and circumstances, and they have been more successful. Vision by the Lake (orig. Lullaby) was one of them. The other two were Intermezzo (orig. Interlude) for double bass and piano (orig. harp), and Calypso Round (orig. for flute, horn, marimba, harp, and double bass) which I orchestrated in 2000.
Vision By The Lake was originally written for flute, horn, and harp. I lay dormant until 1998, when it was suggested I rescore the horn part for viola so as to create more repertoire for the ensemble used by Debussy in his famous Sonata. The work is one of several works I wrote at the time which explored the intriguing structural dynamics presented by Minimalism. I never was interested in the stylistics of Minimalism, but the idea of organizing music in structural layers I found fascinating.
Originally, the gentle rocking of the music suggested a lullaby to me, but I think Vision By The Lake is a better title. Though the gentle waves are rather hypnotic, there are events in the music which are more suggestive of mists and fleeting images common to lakes especially in the morning. Some of the images might be rather less than friendly, but none of them I believe to be threatening.
Vision By The Like is available from American Composers Edition (composers.com) and may be ordered here.