for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano
Notes from the composer
Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano was composed from April to November of 2003. It was premiered on April 12th, 2005 by Michelle Eudeikis, Richard von Foerster, and Theodor Lichtmann in Hamilton Hall at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts in Denver, Colorado.
My interest in the “large work” as a compositional medium is the result of my fascination with synthesis. Much of my work as a composer deals with my desire to combine the many musical styles that have influenced me into a cogent and unified whole. The forms traditionally used in longer pieces can often be seen as the interplay and synthesis of contrasting themes and tonal areas, so I find them to be a perfect venue for this sort of synthesis. Also, the large scale requires more contrast to maintain interest, providing a context for more stylistic exploration.
The Trio follows the traditional fast-slow-fast formula, with the fast movements involving a more linear and contrapuntal style. The forms of each movement are driven by the thematic content.
The two contrasting thematic areas in the fast (first and last) movements unfold and interact in quasi-Sonata form. There are many internal references in the piece, and the relation of the themes of these two movements is one of the most important. The first theme of the last movement is related to the countersubject to the first movement’s second theme. The second theme of the last movement is a thematic transformation of the first movement’s first theme, and in the climax of the last movement, it mutates to encompass both themes from the first movement.
The slow movement is a seven-part Rondo (A B A’ C A’’ B’ A”’). The A sections make prominent use of an augmented triad, and the form of this movement is the result of the tonal motion through this triad, with each refrain using a different member of the triad as the root.
The Trio is dedicated to Donald Keats, who was my composition teacher during my undergraduate studies. There are a number of subtle references in the Trio to my favorite piece of Don’s, his Piano Sonata (Boosey & Hawkes, 1961). Don has continued to be an influence on my work, and I am deeply indebted to his patience and dedication as a teacher and adviser.
Premiered April 12, 2005. University of Denver faculty recital
Michelle Eudeikis, clarinet
Richard von Foerster, cello
Theodor Lichtmann, piano