composition

Trio after Brahms in G Minor (Trio nach Brahms G-moll)

for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano

  • Genre
    Chamber
  • Commissioned by/written for
    Richard Schubert
  • Year completed
    2012
  • Year revised
    2012
  • Timing
    23:00
  • Catalog number
    223a
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The Trio after Brahms is actually the work that launched my continuing series of original works in the style of older composers who did not write for particular instruments. I had written my Concerto for Gliere in 2007 for Dr. Eugene Rousseau, but at the time considered it a one-off work, and of course, one work does not make a series. Given that this earlier work had achieved within a short time of its premiere wide performance among saxophonists who were looking for such works, I was receptive to writing another one when my friend Dr. Thomas Liley, whom I'd been promising a work for some time, suggested writing a trio for alto saxophone, violin, and piano in the style of Brahms. Since the great German master is one of my favorite composers, and I knew his style well, I launched into writing Trio after Brahms at my first opportunity, which came at the end of 2011. I completed the work on February 1, 2012, and Liley and his colleagues premiered it on March 11th of that same year, and followed with several other performances in the US and Europe, the final one taking just days before Liley's early death at the beginning of 2013. Unlike Concerto after Gliere, which utilized some of Gliere's own music along with original music by me, in this Trio, I have not quoted anything from Brahms' own output, although there are undoubtedly phrases, chord sequences and other such things that could be found somewhere in the music of this composer. Nor did I worry too much about the places in the piece that Brahms would not have written, especially the rather wild harmonic shifts in the final movement. I had and have no delusions about being another Brahms, and in any case did not want to completely suppress my own musical voice. Consequently, I left some of my own "musical fingerprints" in the work. The work is in the usual four-movement format that Brahms used. This version substituting clarinet for alto saxophone was made simply because even clarinetists who have original works by Brahms employing their instrument, are not exactly overburdened with Romantic style chamber music by him or other Romantic-era composers.

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