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Mixed Chamber Ensembles

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  • And All Time (2016) 13’ • fl, ob, cl, hn, bn, pno, vln, vla, vc, db, narrator

    Commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation for Fifth House Ensemble.
    Fifth House Ensemble will premiere the work on 3/24/17, after which it will be available for purchase and performance.

    I devised the idea of a piece on time when I found several texts all dealing with time from various points-of-view. These four poems work very well together: Edgar Allan Poe's The Bells addresses the delight of the universe spinning in rhythmical time; Henry van Dyke's Time Is comments on how we experience the slow or swift passage of time based on various states of emotion; John Milton's On Time accuses time of being greedy, stealing time from man’s lives; and Walt Whitman's Poem of Joys celebrates the joy of time, both now and always, as well as throughout the universe. I arranged these four texts in this specific order to craft a narrative that moves through delight, sadness, anger, and finally joy. I carry out the idea of time through the tempo of the works - all but one tempo indication are derived from a musical beat lasting one second (i.e. the speed of the quarter note is sixty beats per minute). The performers double as the narrators of the poems throughout the piece.


    All texts are in public domain worldwide.

    from The Bells
    Edgar Allan Poe
    While the stars that oversprinkle
    All the heavens, seem to twinkle
    With a crystalline delight;
    Keeping time, time, time,
    in a sort of Runic rhyme,
    To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
    From the bells, bells, bells,

    Time is

    Henry van Dyke
    Time is 
    Too Slow for those who Wait,
    Too Swift for those who Fear,
    Too Long for those who Grieve,
    Too Short for those who Rejoice;
    But for those who Love,
    Time is not. 

    from On Time
    John Milton
    Fly envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
    Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
    Whose speed is but the heavy Plummets pace;
    And glut thy self with what thy womb devours,
    Which is no more then what is false and vain,
    And merely mortal dross;
    So little is our loss,
    So little is thy gain.

    from Poem of Joys
    Walt Whitman
    O the joy of my spirit--it is uncaged--it darts like lightning!
    It is not enough to have this globe or a certain time,
    I will have thousands of globes and all time.

  • Bohemian Café (2015) 8’ • fl, ob, cl, hn, bn (or vc), db

    Performed by Fifth House Ensemble
    Dedicated to Cedille Records in celebration of its 25th Anniversary.

    Theodore Presser Company
    114-41745 • $81.99 • full score and set of parts • click to order
    114-41745M • $62.99 • set of parts • click to order
    114-41745S • $28.99 • full score • click to order
    PR.114417450 • $81.99 • full score and set of parts • click to order
    PR.11441745M • $62.99 • set of parts • click to order
    PR.11441745S • $28.99 • full score • click to order

    When James Ginsburg, president of Cedille Records, asked me for a piece in celebration of the label’s 25th anniversary, he suggested an intriguing instrumentation: a woodwind quintet with the addition of a double bass. Jim has been in Prague multiple times over the years, where street musicians (or “buskers”) are plentiful around the city. I personally have never been there, so I went online to see if there was footage of Prague’s buskers. I discovered a wealth of videos featuring musicians of all types – one-man bands, blues and jazz groups, classically trained string players, bagpipers, folk singers, Dixie bands, and even a very talented water goblet performer. As it turns out, Prague has a long and very rich culture of busking. I can see why Jim is enthralled with Prague!

    In my piece, I employ the musicians in various groupings to portray different styles of music. I named the piece Bohemian Café, for when I hear it, I picture myself sitting at an outdoor café in a plaza in Prague, drinking coffee, watching street musicians set up around the plaza, and listening to assorted strands of music wafting through the air.

  • Double Trouble (2004) 10’ • 2 vlns, pno
    I. All Revved Up
    III. Face-Off
    II. Nocturne

    Performed by the Callisto Ensemble
    Commissioned by the Callisto Ensemble

    Theodore Presser Company
    114-41319 • $34.95 • full score and parts • click to order
    PR.114413190 • $34.95 • full score and parts • click to order

    Double Trouble's instrumentation presented an intriguing challenge: what could I do with two violins that I can't with one? One idea that immediately sprang to mind was to sustain four strings at once. On a single violin, the performer can only sustain two out of four strings simultaneously due to the curvature of the instrument's bridge and the flatness of the bow. Thus, with two violins, I envisioned one "super violin" that can sustain its total number of strings. This concept is utilized throughout the piece.

    The piece contains three movements, each with a different character. All Revved Up gets things moving and shaking as it depicts a motorcycle that is revving to life. Nocturne, the second movement, continuously alternates between introverted and extroverted personalities. The final movement, Face-off, is a playful competition in which all three instruments steal brief moments in the spotlight.

  • Frammenti (2010) 11’ • fl, ob, cl, vln, vla, vc, db, pno

    Performed by Fifth House Ensemble
    Commissioned by the
    Rembrandt Chamber Players, the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, Peggy Pearson, Richard Nunemaker, Robert Spring, and the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society of Wisconsin, Inc., Stephanie Jutt and Jeffrey Sykes, Artistic Directors

    Theodore Presser Company
    416-414169 • $19.99 • full score (study)
    416-414169L • $31.99 • full score (large)
    Parts rental • click to order

    To view full score online, click here or on the image to the right.

    Stacks Image 5208
    Frammenti (Italian for “fragments”) is a set of five miniatures in which each movement is based on one or more musical fragments. In Primo, the woodwinds repeatedly call the rest of the ensemble to join them in their musical celebration. Secondo starts with the entire ensemble playing the same note; the ensemble makes short work of stretching and expanding the note into the extreme high and low registers. Terzo offers a brief repose from the frenetic activity of the previous movements with a slow, haunting melody. In Quarto, the entire ensemble unleashes a maelstrom of fury; they traverse a variety of musical fragments as they storm their way through the movement. The piece concludes with Quinto, in which the ensemble decisively draws the piece to a hushed finale.

    Frammenti was commissioned by the Rembrandt Chamber Players, the Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, Peggy Person, Richard Nunemaker, Robert Spring, and Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society of Wisconsin, Inc., Stephanie Jutt and Jeffrey Sykes, Artistic Directors.

  • Little Bits (2000) 8’30” • cl, vln, vc, pno
    Movement 1: Sputter
    Excerpt of Movement 5: Double Dare
    Movement 2: Crumbs

    Excerpts performed by the Eberli Ensemble

    Theodore Presser Company
    114-41115 • $44.95 • full score and set of parts • click to order
    114-41115M • $34.95 • set of parts • click to order
    114-41115S • $25.95 • full score • click to order
    PR.114411150 • $44.95 • full score and set of parts • click to order
    PR.11441115M • $34.95 • set of parts • click to order
    PR.1141115S • $25.95 • full score • click to order

    little bits was written in the summer of 2000 at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Each composer who came to the Center wrote a piece while in residence, which was rehearsed and premiered by the Eberli Ensemble (who were also in residence with guest composer Aaron Jay Kernis). Given the brevity of time in which to write, I chose to compose super-short movements, each focusing on a specific set of parameters, colors, and textures. For instance, the first movement deals with a twelve-tone row that could only be manipulated in specific ways, while the second is a short tribute to American composer George Crumb. The piece concludes with a slightly longer movement that is both a whirlwind and a smorgasborg of three different bits.

  • Neurotichotomy (2002) 7’15” • vln, pno
    Movement 1: Dichotomy
    Movement 3: Lotsachotomy
    Movement 2: Trichotomy

    Excerpts performed by Gregory Fulkerson, violin, and Charles Abramovic, piano
    Commissioned by Gregory Fulkerson

    Theodore Presser Company
    114-41154 • $29.95 • full score and violin part • click to order
    PR.114411540 • $29.95 • full score and violin part • click to order

    Neurotichotomy is a microscopic violin sonata: its first movement contains a traditional sonata-allegro structure; the middle movement is a slow theme and variations; and the third is a scherzo-trio. But each movement is a tightly packed microcosm of what a proper sonata would contain. In addition, the name of each movement reflects how many elements are important. Dichotomy, the first movement, contains two primary elements - the two contrasting themes of a typical sonata-allegro. Trichotomy, the second movement, has three descending scales - one in the violin, and one in each hand of the piano. The final movement, Lotsachotomy, has so many elements (including a twelve tone row, a tango, and a quote from a work I wrote a year ago) that I felt completely neurotic by the time I pinned a double bar to the piece, hence the title Neurotichotomy.

  • Noir Vignettes (2014) 13’ • db, pno •OR• vc, pno

    Commissioned by the University of Illinois Research Board on behalf of Michael Cameron for the Sonata Project.

    Theodore Presser Company
    Presser is currently preparing the score for a print run. This page will be updating with pricing and ordering information when the score is available.

    In the mid-1940s, film critics in France noticed a trend emerging in movies from the United States, which they coined film noir (which translates to “black film”). These movies were dark, moody, and pessimistic, reflecting the agitation and anxiety present in society following World War II. Several characteristics are commonly found in many of these movies, including a strong but flawed male lead (often a detective or P.I.), a beautiful woman who either coerces the male lead into committing murder for her or is a killer herself (a “femme fatale”), and a twisting, turning plot line that involves one or more homicides. Additionally, there are several visual elements that these movies share: many are shot in black and white, with great emphasis on the use of shadows and light; alcohol and cigarettes are heavily consumed by men and women alike; and men typically wear trench coats and fedoras. Most of the story lines do not have happy endings. Examples of film noir include Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai, Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity, and John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon.

    Noir Vignettes for double bass and piano consists of four movements, each depicting a different aspect of film noir: Murder at Midnight, Loaded Gun, Femme Fatale, and Last Cigarette. This piece was commissioned by the University of Illinois Research Board on behalf of double bassist Michael Cameron.

  • Postcards from Wyoming (2017) 14’ • fl, cl, vln, vc, pno, perc
    Movement I: High Plains Prairie
    Movement II: Call of the Wild
    Movement III: The Solitude of Stars

    From the world premiere at the
    Utah Arts Festival
    Performed by
    Sinfonia Salt Lake; Robert Baldwin, conductor

    In 2014, I enjoyed a wonderful residence at the Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, Wyoming. Ucross is an artist colony that gives writers, composers, and visual artists the gift of time, space, and support to follow their artistic pursuits; we are provided with studio space, housing, and meals so that we can work almost continuously on our projects. I have been in residence at numerous artist colonies; however, nothing in my previous experiences prepared me for living in such isolated, wild country. Ucross is situated on a 20,000-acre cattle ranch at nearly 4,000 feet in elevation with fewer than 150 people living within the town. But what Clearmont lacks in population, it makes up for abundantly and spectacularly in wilderness and wildlife.

    Postcards from Wyoming presents three glimpses of what I found to be the most striking aspects of my residence. The first movement, High Plains Prairie, represents the conundrum that is a high elevation landscape: from afar, the eye sees little else than an unending and threadbare horizon. But as one inspects the land up close, the prairie bursts with color provided by sagebrush, grasses, insects, and creeks. The second movement, Call of the Wild, is a tribute to the wide range of animals that reside in the area. Deer, turkeys, and rabbits frequently passed outside of my studio window; cows and sheep lived in fields close by. Snakes, raccoons, and field mice also made guest appearances. While I’m thankful that I didn’t see any predators (such as wolves), I became increasingly aware of the wildness of the animal population that surrounded my studio. The Solitude of Stars, the third and final movement, was inspired by the stunning nightly display of the heavens above. Without city lights dimming the night sky, countless stars shone brightly over the vast expanse of the prairie.

    Postcards from Wyoming was commissioned by the Mandel Foundation and the 2016 Utah Arts Festival.


    Stacks Image 7163
    Images taken by the composer during her residence at the Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, Wyoming.

  • Remnants of Nine (1999) 6’30” • fl, cl, vc, pno, perc

    Performed by Banff Centre for the Arts musicians

    Theodore Presser Company
    416-41492 • $27.99 • full score (small) • click to order
    416-41492L • $47.99 • full score (large) • click to order
    Parts rental • click to order
    PR.416414920 • $27.99 • full score (small) • click to order
    PR.41641492L • $47.99 • full score (large) • click to order

    Remnants of Nine contains a playful mix of motor rhythms, pedal points, big boomy piano and percussion noises, and some tone row theory. The source material for the piece is a fourteen chord row which are all major or minor triads (thus giving the piece a modal sound). The work begins with a slow introduction in which several melodies are stated as well as fragments of the chord row. After a brief pause, the work jumps to a fast tempo and shows off its themes and row via a mixture of pedal point sections and orchestrally altered versions of the chord row. The piece feverishly spins forward at full tilt through a maze of short, linked sections until it blazes its brightest in a no-holds-barred ending.

  • Silver Dagger (2009) 4’45” • cl, vc, pno

    (Please note that this excerpt features the piano trio rendition of the piece.)
    Excerpt performed by the Lincoln Trio
    In Eleanor's Words, Cedille Records CDR 90000 122
    Available from
    Cedille Records
    Used by permission. All rights reserved.
    Purchase recording

    Theodore Presser Company
    114-41798 • $28.99 • full set (full score/piano part; cl, vc parts) • click to order
    114-41798M • $21.99 • cl, vc parts • click to order
    114-41798S • $15.99 • full score (piano part only) • click to order
    114-41798 • $28.99 • full set (full score/piano part; cl, vc parts) • click to order
    • $21.99 • cl, vc parts • click to order
    • $15.99 • full score/piano part • click to order

    In 1994, I heard for the first time an Appalachian folk song called Silver Dagger at a folk festival. The simplicity of the melody joined with a cautionary love tale enthralled me, and I spent the next several years researching the song. What emerged from my research were dozens of variants of the song, both in terms of text as well as melody and title. The variants that I discovered could be grouped more or less under three different titles: Silver Dagger, Drowsy Sleeper, and Katie Dear. All of these versions revolve around the same Romeo and Juliet premise: a boy asks a girl for her parents’ consent to marry.  The story has various endings: the parents won’t give approval, so the girl and boy each end their lives with a silver dagger; the girl turns the boy down and sends him away to find another love; the girl forsakes her parents and runs away with the boy; and so on. In my trio, I incorporate two complete versions of the folk song, one of Katie Dear and one of Silver Dagger, as well as motives from a variant of Drowsy Sleeper.

  • Stubborn as Hell (2011) 5’40” • 2 clarinets


    Excerpt performed by Robert Spring and Joshua Gardner, clarinets
    Commissioned by clarinetist Robert Spring

    Theodore Presser Company
    114-41771 • $14.99 • set of performance scores • click to purchase

    Stubborn as Hell was commissioned by virtuoso clarinetist Robert Spring. I heard Bob perform in September 2010 when I attended his clarinet concert at Arizona State University – Tempe. Bob is one of those wondrous musicians that plays the most challenging pieces written for the instrument and make them sound effortless. When he commissioned me, I wanted to write a piece that not only reflected his technical and musical abilities, but also his great sense of humor, hence the title and premise of the piece. The “stubbornness” of the title refers to the manner in which the two instruments incessantly battle each other around the pitch D, and how they willfully get stuck repeating pitches and gestures.

  • Torque (2006) 13’ • vla, pno
    Excerpt of Movement 1: Momentum
    Excerpt of Movement 2: Stasis


    Excerpts performed by Viacheslav Dinerchtein, viola, and Mauricio Nader, piano
    Commissioned by the
    Barlow Endowment

    Inkjar Publishing Company
    $29.95 • full score and viola part • Click here to email Inkjar Publishing Company

    Torque was commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for violist Viacheslav Dinerchtein.  This tour de force for viola and piano consists of two movements that are complete opposites of each other. The first movement, entitled Momentum, starts with the viola and piano aggressively sharing a single note. Things start swirling out of control: the music gains greater and greater tension as the musicians turn and twist their way into ever smaller spirals, right on up to the end of the movement. The second movement, Stasis, offers a peaceful, angelic repose as it gently unwinds the pressure that has been built up by the two instrumentalists.

  • Untaming the Fury (1999) 6’30” • vln, gtr Enter description here.

    Performed by duo46

    Commissioned by duo46
    Available on
    Summit Records