Commission: Ernst von Siemens Musik Stiftung for Boston Musica Viva
Premiere: March 2010, Boston and London
Length: 12 minutes
Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, cello
Audio (.wav format) Performance by Boston Musica Viva, conducted by Richard Pittman
Program Note: I have been inspired by the music of Elliott Carter ever since I heard his Double Concerto when I was in high school. Growing up in New York, I greeted every one of his premieres with excitement, and I have since learned a great deal from studying, teaching, and performing his remarkable body of work. So I am very grateful, and deeply honored, to have been given this opportunity to compose a work in honor of Mr. Carter's 100th Birthday.
One characteristic of Carter's music that I have always admired is the complex polyphony that grows out of the simultaneous presence of multiple, contrasting musical streams. I have aimed for something similar in "Elliott's Instruments," which I offer as a companion piece to "Triple Duo." It draws on all of the solo and chamber music that Elliott wrote for these six instruments since the "Sonata for Cello and Piano" of 1948. References to the Sonata, Triple Duo, Night Fantasies, and the Duo for Violin and Piano appear throughout the work, and a reference to each of the other twenty pieces appears once, in chronological order. I see the piece as two simultaneous conversations, one among all these pieces, and another between Carter and myself. There are a few brief quotations, but mostly the piece consists of passages that are reminiscent of, yet not identical to, the sources. I am very grateful to Richard Pittman for his encouragement and patience, and to the Ernst von Siemens Musik Stiftung for supporting the project.