From the composer: “My Piano Quintet consists of four contrasting movements. The first movement, entitled ‘Mannheim Rocket,’ is a modern take on the eighteenth-century musical technique in which a rising figure speeds up and grows louder. Marked ‘Furioso,’ the movement is gradually filled with rising scalar figures which build in volume and finally ‘launch’ into space with ethereal string harmonies. At this point, the music becomes almost static, though the inner rhythm continues.
“The second movement, entitled ‘Kyrie,’ is marked ‘Still, chant-like.’ The principal idea, stated between first violin and viola, is a chromatically transformed chant-like motive. It also features a long, lyrical cello line, made up exclusively of natural harmonics, emphasizing the non-tempered (‘out of tune’) 7th and 11th partials.
“The third movement is a scherzo in which the strings and piano sometimes alternate and imitate each other, reacting to each other’s gestures, and at other times combine and synchronize to produce a more blended sound. A short trio-like section appears before the return of the scherzo music.
“The last movement, ‘Pulse,’ is made up of perpetually moving 8th notes, sometimes harmonically static, but always pushing forward. The work is interrupted twice with short, freer sections but always returns to its pulse-oriented nature.
“Thank you to the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music for commissioning and championing so much new music. Through the years, they have commissioned my Second Piano Trio, Secret Alchemy (piano quartet), and now this new work. We need groups like yours, especially in these times. I am greatly appreciative.”
About Pierre Jalbert
Mr. Jalbert, born in New Hampshire to a French-Canadian family, has received numerous awards for his compositions, including the Rome Prize, the BBC Masterpiece Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Elise L. Stoeger Prize, given biennially “in recognition of significant contributions to the chamber music repertory.” He has been commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, and the Budapest Symphony, among many others. His music has been praised for its clear tonalities, luminous colors, and dynamic propulsive rhythm. Mr. Jalbert is currently Professor of Composition and Theory at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston, where he has taught since 1996.
Piano Trio #2, November 5, 2014
“Secret Alchemy” for piano quartet, March 1, 2012
Sponsored by: Jim Cushing