Quartet for flute, Bb clarinet, cello and piano



This Quartet was composed for the Louisville-based new music ensemble A/Tonal, which gave the world premiere of this work in the spring of 2018.

The composition unfolds in four movements. The first, marked Lively, features jazz-like syncopation and playful interaction between the instruments.  The second movement (With calm and grace), opens as a lyrical slow movement, featuring melodic solos in the flute and clarinet. This slow music is then interrupted by a rhapsodic middle section that rushes the music forward before relaxing again into a return of the opening material.

The third movement carries the indication Flowing, which reflects the feeling projected by the running sixteenth-notes found within a pensive 6/8 time signature. Throughout the movement there is a sense that this is a type of dance music. Even so, the form here parallels that of the second movement, in that the outer sections of the third movement frame a middle section that is faster, and here lighter in tone. In the final measures, the flute provides a brief foreshadow of what is to come in the final movement.

The fourth movement (Playful and light) picks up the flute’s rhythmic and tonal projection from the end of the previous movement, but now, instead of a 6/8 meter, we have a sensation of the music surging forward with triplets in 4/4 time. This movement is in a traditional rondo form where the opening triplet section cascades into a B section that is majestic in tone and attitude before a short return of the next A section. It is then the solo clarinet that interrupts the party with a cadenza-like passage. As the clarinet continues, this music is picked up by the flute in imitation before these two instruments are joined by the cello and piano. The imitation and syncopation moves forward and leads to a return of the final A section which itself is followed by a coda that embraces the B material, bringing the Quartet to a rousing conclusion.

flute, clarinet, cello, piano
Date completed:

1. Lively

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