Small Suite (2012)
solo viola with cl. bs. db.
Piano Trio (2012)
violin, cello and piano
Three Immigrant Songs (2011)
mezzo, horn, cello, piano
Song in Mistranslation (2011)
flute, clarinet, cello
Three Songs of Remembered Love (2011)
soprano, double bass and recorded audio
Three Gifts (2010)
solo piano
Stories From My Grandmother (2009)
fl. cl. vl. vlc. pno.
Heart Rhythms (2008)
violin, bass clarinet, cello
The Art of Remembering (2007)
fl. cl. perc. pno. vl. vla. vlc.
Frantic Gnarly Still (2007)
violin and percussion
High Sierra Zen (2006)
bassoon and piano
Rain Down (2005)
piano and percussion
Strange Folk (2005)
string quartet
Waltz (2002 rev. 2004)
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Small Suite

I. Prelude (viola, clarinet, bassoon, double bass)
II. Courante (viola, clarinet, bassoon)
III. Sarabande (viola and clarinet)
IV. Loure (solo viola)

viola, clarinet, bassoon and double bass
(2012)
10 minutes

the complete piece will be premiered by:
Con Vivo on May 20th, 2012

listen to mvt. 2: Sarabande

live recording:
Ryan Yuré, clarinet and Pei-Ling Lin, viola

About the piece:

For the last couple of years I have been writing contemporary versions of baroque dances.  There is something about the order and dignity contained in the meter and forms of these dances that attracts me and seems to work as a good foil for my musical instincts. The Prelude is perhaps the least baroque of all the movements but beneath the multiphonic swirl of the other instruments first the viola and then the bassoon declaim a short-short-long figure that is like a very distant cousin of Brandenburg 3.
The Courante uses a similar motive to skitter insitently around some harmonically ambiguous realms before breaking out in a moment of almost G Major, adapted from the Courante of the Bach's G Major French Suite. Not surprisingly, this does not last long, peetering out before a short, almost apologetic recapitulation.
The timing is not quite right in this Sarabande - it is as if someone is alternately pressing slow motion and fast forward on the remote , so the piece becomes a caricature of a dance. Yet I think both the courtly European dance and its wild Spanish ancestor are strongly present underneath the surface.
The Loure begins more or less in the manner of a Baroque Loure - slow and stately with a distinctive short-long figure that acts as a pickup. But there is an energy bubbling up beneath the surface of this Loure that I could not suppress.  In my piece, the dignified feel of the Loure is gradually replaced with something much more wild.  However, this wildness can not sustain itself either and the piece ends mostly as it began. 
Each succesive movement is longer than the previous one and involves fewer instruments until only the viola remains for the Loure. The piece as a whole leaves me with a strangely sad feeling but I hope the listener enjoys its fleeting moments of grace.

Music