Six musical moments
Clarinet in Bb, Cimbalom, Cello, Piano
Commissioned by the Intermezzo Chamber Music Series
Not accidentally I borrowed the title from Schubert’s famous cycle. Being interested in a tendency of some of today’s composers to be brief, I was attracted by this title and was curious to study how brevity is approached by Schubert. One, however, might not define these movements as “moments”, as some of the six pieces last more than five or six minutes. Closer look reveals a high concentration of the thematic material, and the actual music time seems longer only because of the repetitions. Not surprisingly, one of the today’s proponents of music brevity György Kurtág also used the same title “musical moments” in one of his recent compositions.
In my version of six musical moments I used a general formal approach and some of the main gestures, found in Schubert. Kurtág’s influence can be heard in pitch organization, which is mostly based on a principle of completing 12-tone aggregates.
First movement is characterized by the energetic unison motive scored for the entire ensemble. Later, this motive is transformed into more lyrical tune. Second movement is conceived as an ornamented melody accompanied with the barcarolle-like rhythm. Third movement is a scherzo, full of dynamic contrasts. Fourth movement is a perpetuum motion, executed mostly by the cimbalom, imitating street musicians. Fifth movement is another scherzo, but even faster than any previous movements. It also abandons with register shifts and dynamic surprises. Sixth moment, as in Schubert’s cycle, is a mellow melodic movement. Solo cello, accompanied by the piano is juxtaposed with clarinet and cimbalom duet. The difference in sound can be associated with a dialogue between classically trained and folk musicians.
Premiered by Henry Caceres - clarinet; Igor Iachimciuc - cimbalom; Louis-Philippe Robillard - cello; Vedrana Subotic - piano.