Trio for Piano, Clarinet, and Cello
by Peter Rejto, Richard Hawkins, Christina Dahl on March 1, 2004
Performances: This work was subsequently performed at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (UK) by Nicholas Cox (clarinet), Jonathan Aasgaard (cello) and Timothy Horton (piano), twice by another British trio led by Timothy Orpen (clarinet), also in England, and by pupils of Richard Hawkins in Oberlin College and in New York.
A true internationalist, Dutch-American composer Gerard Schurmann, who also worked for many years in England, discussed aspects of his composition in The Musical Quarterly (1990): “I am essentially an instinctive composer, although early on my main preoccupation was the manipulation of technique. When I write, I listen very intensely, and try to respond emotionally in the most direct way possible. I feel that living in the United States, now in Los Angeles, has had a liberating effect on me. The incomparable beauty of the scenery and the superb climate seem, on the whole, to generate energy and zest almost in spite of oneself.”
The composer writes: “The Trio was composed as an homage to Brahms and his masterful work in A minor, Opus 114, for the same combination of instruments. At the opening a strong declamatory subject marked “con passione” is introduced by the cello in its high register, accompanied by a repeated two-chord sequence on the piano. The clarinet enters, and a develop.m.ent of the material ensues that leads to the Allegro, which is based on a three-note figure distilled from the introduction. The second movement is a kind of chaconne with a steady tread, in which the lyrical qualities of the clarinet and cello are explored. By contrast, the last movement is fast and energetic. It features a playful little tune, as well as a return to the opening Largo. The piece ends with a full-blown tonal cadence and resolve, which I intended as a token of respect.”
Sponsored by: Jean-Paul Bierny and Chris Tanz