Sunday, October 22, 2017

Timepiece Orchestration

The original Timepiece is a woodwind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon) written for a friend back in 1996. The title comes from my having loved Dave Brubeck's Time Out album in my early teenage years. Its most famous track is Take Five with five beats per measure, but there's also Blue Rondo รก la Turk with nine beats a measure, with some measures in a 1,2; 1,2; 1,2; 1,2,3 rhythm. The idea of mixed rhythms stuck with me and when I started composing music thirty years later, they were fun to work with, and let me write music that has a fresh sound without being abstrusely avant garde.

The first movement is in measures of 1,2,3; 1,2; 1,2, which is cleanly stated by the bassoon in the opening measures. The second movement is in plain old triple time - measures of 1,2,3. The third movement is in measures of 1,2,3; 1,2,3; 1,2,3,4 with the clarinet laying out the rhythm in the opening measures.

Two summers ago I was able to commission Tal Benatar, a former Rapidan conductor, to orchestrate the piece and these fall concerts are the first performances of that orchestration.

(This post is a first go at writing something for the program. For audio of the original quintet, more history, and early performance notes, go here.)

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