by Richard Stoltzman and Arianna String Quartet on November 13, 2002
Composer’s website: http://www.iannacconeworks.com/
Performances: (11/26/09): “about a dozen times in the U.S., Europe, and Canada, by North Carolina School of the Arts/Winston-Salem with faculty quartet (K. Lawrence, J. Genualdi, Vns., Sheila Browne, Va., Brooks Whitehouse, Vc.) and Igor Begelman, Cl.; St. Louis, MO with faculty quartet (Arianna String Quartet and Kimberly Cole-Luevano, Cl.); Univ. of B.C./Vancouver BC (faculty quartet and clarinetist); Munich/Germany (Musica Nova Quartet and Michael Bauman, Cl.); Eastern Michigan University/Ypsilanti MI (Arianna String Quartet and K. Cole-Luevano, Cl.); Citicorp Center NYC (Vanguard Quartet G. Martin, Cl.)”
Published: Theodore Presser Company.
CD: Albany Records
Anthony Iannaccone writes: “Commissioned by the Arizona friends of Chamber Music for Richard Stoltzman and the Arianna String Quartet, the Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet consists of three contrasting movements. The piece is a big, ambitious creation whose emotionally charged surface conceals a rigorous substructure. Its textures unfold in many ways, alternately building momentum and pushing forward, repressing energy and erupting, and retreating into calm. Sometimes the music sings sweetly or joyfully, other times it rails painfully, sometimes it floats or dances, other times it cascades, collapses, or implodes. The wide range of expression and virtuosity explored on this three-movement journey was motivated by the great expressive and technical resources of the outstanding players for whom the work was written.
“The intensity of the quintet also reflects the intensity of two events immediately preceding its composition–the untimely death of my mother and the horror and sadness of September 11. Something unusual happened during the composition of this quintet. Although I can usually insulate my mindset from exterior events and focus exclusively on the emotional character of a work in progress, I was not able to achieve such a detachment in this piece. My mother’s death in New York City was followed two months later by the devastation of nine-eleven. These events penetrated any mental shield I could manufacture and exerted considerable gravity on my thinking during the composition of the quintet, especially the second movement, which is an elegy for my mother.
In general, the two outer movements project an affirmation and celebration of life and energy, while the inner movement reflects a sense of loss mingled with rage, and assault on beauty and life and a need for healing. “The pitch elements which generate thematic shapes for all three movements are relatively simple: the interval cells of a half-step-and-minor-third and half-step-and-perfect fifth. The rhythmic elements of movements one and three sometimes draw upon lively jazz-like syncopations, which are often set in opposition to lyrical elements with smoother and gentler profiles.
Fundamental to most of my work is the projection, evolution, and develop.m.ent of opposing forces or characters in a musical narrative. Whether musical contrast leads to merger, reconciliation, or dissolution of thematic ideas, the energy released in this develop.m.ent is an essential part of my work. The contrasts or conflicts may be defined as the opposing of grace and grit, or cantabile (singing) and ballabile (dancing), or dolce (sweet, smooth) and ruvido (rough, harsh) or some other complementary or incongruous qualities. The actual musical characters or motives that animate each composition are defined by their context, their instrumentation, and their performers.”
Sponsored by: Richard and Galina De Roeck, in memory of Francine Beekwilder De Roeck