for string quintet with piano and percussion
A performance of the Septet performed by students can be heard at the following link:
The opening section of this piece is a layering of three distinct ideas. The first is a quiet, smoothly flowing quasi-meditative accompaniment pattern played by the violins. Bell-like sounds and expressively lyrical melodies are then cycled in and out over this evolving texture. All three of these ideas will eventually undergo certain transformations, either in this opening section or later in the piece, as tension increases and the music's character evolves.
After an increase of tempo and dynamics, a dramatic burst of drums introduces the second large formal section. This section is characterized by sharp contrasts of dynamics, instrumental colors and musical characters. Pizzicato rhythms played by strings and piano alternate with drum breaks, lightly lilting melodic phrases and aggressively articulated chords. This concerto-like dialogue continues until the piano and drums eventually coalesce into a sort of 'rhythm section' backing a dramatic version of the (originally lilting) melody played by strings. But even here the idea of contrast persists as the strings' melodic note groupings create an effect of triple meter over the rhythm section's quadruple meter. Finally, the same crescendo/accelerando passage that finished the first large formal section returns to create the piece's main climax. Then all of the layering ideas of the first section return in an articulated and aggressive way and the music slowly recedes back into its opening personality. Eventually, only the bell-like sounds remain, their natural decay gently fading into a meditative silence.
(performance time ca.8:15)
Required Percussion Instruments
4 roto-toms (or tom-toms)