Piano Trio (2009-10) (pages 2-3)
In two movements, the first vigorous and the second – about twice as long – much slower and more expansive, my Piano Trio incorporates the structures of double fugue in each part to integrate seemingly disparate elements. Both movements hover around D, although the second appears to begin a half-step lower (or, depending on whether one’s perspective is harmonic rather than melodic, on the dominant) and must struggle to get there. As for my late wife, Rosemarie Koczÿ’s presence in this often explosive work, suffice it to note that the principal, chant-like theme of the slow movement is in fact the second subject of the piano fugue (no. 26 of my Inventions, Canons and Fugues) I was composing when she died. It was my dirge to her then … and my insistent lament to her here and now.
Woodwind Quartet (2005-06)
My Woodwind Quartet unfolds in three brief movements – fast, slow, fast. It concerns itself principally with unusually strict imitative procedures, quasi-canonic in the extreme, and harmonic inflections (subtle shifts) for expressive purposes. Amidst the varying contrapuntal textures, it attempts to maintain clarity, momentum and --- certainly not least, emotive poignance and power. Although written before Rosemarie’s illness and death, it, like my Prayer Suite (composed at the same time) and all subsequent works, is dedicated in sorrow and love to her memory.
Elegy For Brass Quintet (Revisited) (2009)
Composed originally in 1994 to remember an elderly man dear to Rosemarie and myself, Elegy For Brass Quintet (Revisited) now eulogizes her. The work has been expanded, principally by the opening material which recurs toward the middle and at the very end, and made thematically more unified, especially as concerns secondary subjects in the lower instruments and the increasingly dominant fast music carried mostly by the trumpets. What opened the earlier version (now the destination of the new introduction) at the moment where all the instruments enter upon the long subject on A, pays another homage: to Robert Schumann’s deeply moving beginning to his Symphony No. 4, where A serves as dominant pedal point to the theme in d minor. There IS no ground under my chant, just as there is no bottom to the well of my sorrow at losing Rosemarie … two years ago today.
December 12th, 2009
String Quartet No. 3 (2008-10)
String Quartet No. 3 brings to a close my decision to record in music my devotion to my beloved Rosemarie as far beyond the date of her death as I shall have the agonizing duty to live. The work itself closes upon itself: the primary material of the first movement returns as the coda to the fourth and last. In between, movements two, three and four bring to the fore subjects, patterns and textures that are subsidiary in the long opening movement. I will only call attention to its delicate second theme, which I understood at once as addressing – indeed, as coming from – Rosemarie Koczÿ herself. When it returns, its counterpoint, or rather its counterpart, is … me. It makes a final appearance as the fulcrum of the brief third movement – the quartet’s heart, as it were. Altogether, and not withstanding the many vigorous, even wrenching, sections and passages, my third string quartet insists, I believe, on being heard as a hymn to my wife, who even in death continues – and WILL continue – to elevate the existence I have still to fill without her and, somehow, to fulfill.
August 5th, 2010