composition

To be determined...

for Flute, Clarinet, and Piano

  • Genre
    Chamber
  • Commissioned by/written for
  • Year completed
    2020
  • Year revised
  • Timing
    10:00
  • Catalog number
    281
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Although a few measures were written in July of 2019, To be determined... was almost entirely written as 2019 was closing, and 2020 was beginning, essentially, between December 29th and January 1st of those years, the four-day process being unusually fast even by my generally quick standards. The meaning of the title is drawn from several ideas, including the fact that the piece's six movement may be performed in any order. Also, the fact that the performers must decide "to be determined" to learn this difficult work well, as well as the fact that coming at the turn of the New Year I was cognizant that a lot of things beyond this work were to be determined in the year just begun. The idea for the piece came from John Anderson, co-owner of my publishing firm, Jeanne, Inc. I had asked him in mid 2019, having finished a number of other commitments, what sort of piece he felt could be useful in the music world, and he suggested the instrumentation that is found herein. I've deliberately written the reed part so that it will work on either clarinet or alto saxophone, although the sound of the piece will be somewhat different in each version. The work, coming as it did on the cusp of a New Year caused me (after it was finished) to think of aspects related to time. Thus each of the movement titles was selected to tie in to time in one way or the other. They are: 1. Tempus Fugit (A fast movement, lasting only a minute) 2. Chronos (The ancient Greek word for time, the movement suggesting the regular flow of time, although there are interruptions which can be viewed as the fact that time doesn’t seem to progress at an even rate in any day in someone’s life). 3. Metronome (A regular pulse movement, but the piece speeds up through its course, as the student practicing with one perceives that the metronome is speeding up when he comes to a difficult spot in the music! This movement is written in dodecaphonic style, with the opening solo statement of the tone row in the left had of the pianist repeated at various pitch levels through the piece, while the other hand and the two winds play various retrograde versions of the row above it.) 4. A Timely Love Song (The only completely tonal--including use of key signatures--movement in the work. Here is displayed the concept of time is as it relates to an event of importance being well-placed within the course of a day’s events.) 5. Catch Me If You Can! (A bat-out-of-hell movement, written without meter signagure, where the performers may play as fast as possible without worrying about keeping “in time” with each other. The piece represents the often hectic character of trying to fit events in one's life into time constraints). 6. Little Lopsided March (A march-like piece utilizing the irregular 5/4 and 3/8 meters, again to suggest that time marches on, even if not seemingly regularly. Since this movement, the last to be composed, was finished on January 1st of 2020, I decided to end it with a plagal cadence, my "New Year's Resolution"! ) Thus, if this work is performed as I intend, the movement order will be one of 6! (or 720) different orderings, making it possible that the version heard at a particular performance may be unique among any that will ever be given of this work.

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