Stephen Syverud

Five Pieces (flute, clarinet, 'cello)

Audio sample- 1st piece (.mp3)

Score sample (.pdf - Click here to acquire Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Program Notes:

Five Pieces is defined by the instrumentation: the first, third, and fifth pieces are trios; the second piece is written for clarinet and 'cello; and the fourth piece is for solo flute. This arrangement suggests some degree of symmetry for the listener. The use of the twelve-tone procedure is uncomplicated and only involves pitch selection. Further, no transpositions of the row are used. However, the use of the four permutations and segmentation of the permutations support the section divisions and those points of tension/release within each of the five pieces as well as the experience of hearing the entire set of pieces performed. The row is composed of Major/minor seconds and tritones arranged in a somewhat symmetrical relationship. A ten-element rhythmic pattern is used throughout the last piece, forming a rhythmic ostinato that at times resembles a ground. During the third and fifth pieces, a certain degree of rhythmic freedom is achieved by combining groups of threes, fives, and/or sevens with duple figures.

The following passage from On the Road by Jack Kerouac (at the end of Part 2) determined the choice of pitches in the row, the reason for using no transpositions of the row, and Kerouac's use of rhythm suggested particular patterns which were presented and developed through the Five Pieces, but especially in the freer sections of the third and fifth pieces.

"Dean stands in the back, saying "God! Yes!" -- and clasping his hands in prayer and sweating. "Sal, Slim knows time, he knows time." Slim sits down at the piano and hits two notes, two Cs, then two more, then one, then two, and suddenly the big burly bass-player wakes up from a reverie and realizes Slim is playing "C-Jam Blues" and the slugs in his big forefinger on the string and the big booming beat begins and everybody starts rocking and Slim looks just as sad as ever, and they blow jazz for half an hour, and then Slim goes mad and grabs the bongos and plays tremendous rapid Cubana beats and yells crazy things in Spanish, in Arabic, in Peruvian dialect, in Egyptian, in every language he knows, and he knows innumerable languages."

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