“My second piano trio was written for the Morgenstern Trio for the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music. The work is in two movements of contrasting character. A couple of ideas served as starting points for each movement: the first was the thought of a desert landscape at night, desolate and calm; the second came from an incident driving home in the city of Houston. I was driving through downtown late at night on an elevated highway, which runs through the center of town. There were just enough cars on the road to feel like it was busy, but there were no traffic jams so everyone was going at a high rate of speed, some cars weaving in and out of lanes. Coming around a large curve, I looked over at the downtown skyline as I passed very near the buildings. Since this was an elevated highway, I was looking at the fourth or fifth floors of most buildings, and as I glanced at the buildings, they seemed to be going by in slow motion, even though our cars were moving at very high speed. This provided the impetus for the second movement. The music is not meant to be pictorial — it is abstract music. These were simply starting points, and the music itself eventually developed on its own terms.
“The first movement, marked mysterious, nocturnal, and desolate, begins with high, ethereal harmonics in the strings, slowly building a long line. The movement eventually builds and accelerates directly into a scherzo-like Presto agitato section, only to dissipate back into the opening materials.
“The second movement, marked agitated and relentless, contains frenetic motion, only occasionally interrupted by slower, non-synchronized segments of music. The fast-pulsed motion always returns, and after several segments where each instrument takes on the main role, the instruments join together, racing to the end.”
Sponsored by: Boyer Rickel, in memory of his parents, Harry and Louise Rickel.