Minuet and Trio
large chamber ensemble
(fl. cl. ob. bs. hn. tpt. pno. vl. vla. vlc. db. and sampler)
Commissioned and Premiered by Ensemble ACJW
June 13, 2010 - Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
About the piece:
Minuet and Trio was written on a commission from Ensemble ACJW, a joint program of Carnegie Hall, The Juillard School and the Weill Institute of Music. Ensemble ACJW asked six composers, Matthew Barnson, Ted Hearne, Marcos Balter, Timothy Andres, Lembit Beecher and Sam Adams, to write dance suite movements for a program which also included the Stravinsky Suite Nr. 1 for small orchestra and the Bach Orchestral Suite Nr. 1. The dances represented ranged from the traditional, Marcos Balter's Sarabande, to the popular, Ted Hearne's Shizz, to the post modern, Timothy Andres's How to Pop and Lock in Thirteen Steps.
I decided to use a traditional dance, a Minuet and Trio, yet infuse it with my own slant on modernity. The Minuet is a particularly interesting form to me because of the way it was remade by generations upon generations of composers during the late 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries (and to some extent, in the late 19th and 20th centuries). The form and the groove of my minuet are quite traditional, but the sound world is not. In preparation for writing the piece, I made a number of recordings of life in Washington Heights, the region of New York City where I live. Little bits of these recordings are triggered by the sampler during the course of the piece and in general, these recordings inform the sound world of the Minuet. These jumbled and at times abrasive sounds are mixed with occaisonal Bach quotations and forced into the square phrases of a lilting 3/4 in my homage to the multi-layered tradition of the minuet.