Small Ensembles (3-5 players)

A Commonplace Book

The keeping of a commonplace book, a collection of sayings, poems, articles, virtually any written matter, flourished in the 19th C.  It was not necessary that there be any thematic link to the entries save the value to the keeper of the book. A Commonplace Book follows this same concept in its makeup. The six pieces are highly contrastive by design.

1. Accusì va er monno- a setting of a scabrous sonnet (That's the way the world goes) by the 19th C. Roman dialect poet G.G. Belli.

Ives Music (#1)

Ives Music is the first in a series of pieces that employs quotations from other music. In this case the quotations are from Ives himself. In the first movement,Largo, the "human faith" melody from Concord Sonata is referenced. In the second movement, Romanza, the quotation is more direct as the piece concludes with a rhythmically altered statement of the opening of Ives' song Romanzo di Central Park. 

"...through which the past shines..."

The title of this piece is from Nabokov and that  "through which the past shines" are Transparent Things, the title of his penultimate novel, which I had already used for a piece in 1984. In three movements, this piece does not so much cycle themes but rather intervals in certain registers which become the transparent things through which the past shines. In the second movement a low faint drone is sounded electronically.


Glocken (Ger: bells) is in six continuous movements. On the recording, Mvts 2 and 3 are grouped together while the others are cued individually.


The four "sisters" of Sisters are 1) Annabel Lee (Poe), 2) Hazel Shade (Nabokov) 3) Lolita (Nabokov) and 4) Ophelia (Shakespeare).

Aurochs and Angels

Aurochs and Angels was composed  in 1994 and then revised over a longer period of time in 2000. I have been abandoning string quartet ideas for twenty-five years and I was both surprised and delighted when this one took hold. The weight of the medium's tradition, both formally and texturally, seemed always to loom as a barrier. For myself in this piece the obstacle was overtuned in two ways-forgetting about classical form and freeing the cello from its lowest voice functionn.


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