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Program note

Light and Stone (1999-2000)
Instrumentation: clarinet, violin, piano
Duration: 13 minutes


Light and Stone is both made of and about basic elements. Three distinct types of music, marked in the score as “very quick”, “quick” and “slow”, more or less hold on to their personalities throughout the piece. It would be difficult to overstate the degree of contrast, or the suddenness of exchange, between the very quick, almost disappearing scale fragments, the heavy, pressing, repeated gesture of the quick sections, and the very slow, suspended, descending passages that begin almost by standing still.

Alternation occurs abruptly. Light is light and stone is stone and the dance here is one where placid coexistence gives way to superimposition, interaction and finally, to some degree, to transformation. The crux of the matter turns out, I hope, to be a deepening resonance, the sense of some light gathering deep in a rock center somewhere. As the suspended slow music accelerates, it finds its harmonic roots, and ultimately connects with the other elements.

I suppose this piece is more about images than character, more a depiction of a place than a story. Or perhaps it is trying to connect with nature itself as a story that unfolds in dramas simultaneously minute and elemental. Light and Stone was premiered by Ensemble X in Ithaca, New York in October, 2000.

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