The traditional woodwind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn and bassoon) presents the composer with a fascinating opportunity to blend sonorities and timbres. This woodwind quintet, Whirlwind, was written in 2014. In many ways, I have taken the Classical form as my model. It is a three movement work in the standard fast-slow-fast structure, and although I label the movements merely with their tempo markings: "I. Quarter note = 84" "II. Quarter note = 70" "III. Dotted quarter note = 100" I aspire to a venerable tradition, including a rondo like finale that, I would hope, honors Haydn. The first movement is based on a single lyrical theme that is stated throughout by each member of the ensemble in whole or in part. The second movement is a slow ternary form and features long expressive melodic lines. The title has no programmatic implication, rather, it expresses my essential interest in momentum and expressive concision in my musical style.
Florébius was written in 2015 for the Eusebius Duo. The piece is full of expressive features associated with the characters Florestan (extraverted) and Eusebius (introverted), which, in the music of Schumann, can appear not only as separate, distinct passages but also layered. Here as well, the music moves across a spectrum of mood and quality, one within the other, one lurking behind the other, each ready to take center-stage, often with sudden dramatic shifts - and thus the title of the piece. This alloy of expression is also reflected in the harmonic mixture of traditional and modern tonality.
The 1st movement, "Romance," begins more as Eusebius - sweeter, more lyrical - then gradually becomes a hybrid, with Florestan entering and becoming the main voice. The conclusion is once again extremely quiet and ethereal. The 2nd movement, "Novelette," starts the other way, with steely intensity, but then later blends in the delicate, playful side; the piece ends with a final energetic surge. It seems all of our different sides are dancing together!
I’ve enjoyed writing in this dramatic tradition, and what a pleasure working with the Eusebius Duo - their own personalities and expressiveness joining into the music.
– Allan Crossman
Farewell… for String Quartet
First Prize winner of the 2013 NACUSA competition, "Farewell..." for string quartet is an exploration of extreme emotional anxiety, diverse musical textures, and non-stop breathless, rhythmic energy. Though farewells are often wistful, regretful, or sad, this is not that kind of farewell. Instead, this work is an exploration of a raw, emotionally charged type of farewell and I very much hope the listener will decide to him or herself in what way(s) this composition is or is not a "farewell."
His Branches Run Over The Wall
His Branches Run Over The Wall was inspired by the Biblical account of Joseph, the interpreter of dreams. The title of the piece is taken from Genesis 49:22. With this story in mind, it was my aim to create a musical “dreamscape” by using the piano as a resonator box, and create an entanglement of “branches” through both linear and harmonic development. Timbre and textural choices are also given priority at times to aid in the realization of the programmatic aspects. The piece has two major sections, the first is slower with brief episodic outbursts, and the second is faster-paced and more dance-like. A final return to the opening material offers listeners a sense of resolution.
Georges Raillard’s composition, Sinking Islands (original title in German : Versinkende Inseln), consists of three parts. Though the parts are musically independent of each other, they share a minimalistic character and a melancholic, even depressive mood, being written in the same period of time (2011-2012) and reflecting the same sorrowful personal circunstances of the composer: his aged brother-in-law, suffering a chronic lung disease, was approaching slowly, though inexorably the end of his life. He lived in Spain near the city of Seville, whereas Georges Raillard and his wife lived in Basel, Switzerland. The concerns about his brother-in-law‘s life and the wish to help and care led Georges Raillard and his wife to several travels from Switzerland to Spain. In those times there wasn’t a direct flight between Basel and Seville; there was always a stopover in Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain). Flying over the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera) approaching or leaving Palma Georges Raillard would see the islands “disappear” beneath slowly in the haze and distance. He found these "sinking islands" to be a good image for his mood and circumstances and a suggestive title for the compositions which at that time were being written and worked on.
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