Program notes for Trio #4 for clarinet, cello and piano “Conversation of the Trees”
by Rick Sowash
I like the idea of trees conversing. What topics would they cover? The weather, the squirrels and birds, the sun, the soil, the suppleness of their youth, the strength of their old age.
But there is another way of thinking about the conversations of trees. Clarinets, cellos and pianos are mostly made of wood; wood that was once alive, was once a green and growing tree somewhere. I like to think that, when three particular instruments are playing this piece, their trees of origin come as close as trees can ever come to having an actual conversation!
When musicians play this piece, they are conversing through the trees from whence their instruments came! Quite a thought!
Trio #6 for clarinet, cello and piano “Goddess of the Moon”
This piece has a nocturnal character, evoking the mystery, beauty and madness associated with the moon, moonlight and Diana, the ancient Greek goddess of the moon.
After the strict classicism of my Trio #5, I wanted to do something nocturnal and atmospheric. What is the clarinet but a mezzo? What is the cello but a baritone? What is the piano but a moonlit landscape? (think of those white keys as the full moon shining throuhg between the black keys, like seeing the moon through a criss-cross of bare black branches). In this trio, the clarinet and the cello meet and embrace and entwine against the moonlit landscape of the piano.
Program notes for Trio #9 for clarinet, cello and piano “Five Women”
This piece paints portraits of five women who have been important in my life. Bernice is a British-American cellist who has ardently championed my music for many years. She is a merry soul, given to mystic insights and sustained by a deep commitment to her beloved Episcopalian church. Claire is funny, interested in just about everything, spiritual, fit, continually growing in new directions, continually taking charge of her own destiny, and gifted with a great capacity for friendship. Jo is my wife of 36 years, the mother of our children. She showers the people she loves with love. Diane is a beautiful woman with a beautiful singing voice and one of the very few people who have actually cried on my shoulder. Emilie is a Frenchwoman who possesses great vitality and good humor.