• John Harbison
  • Trio II (2003)

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)
  • vn, vc, pf
  • 18 min

Programme Note

Composer note:

Trio No. 2 (Short Stories) was composed for the Amelia Trio, and commissioned through funds from the Harris Foundation, Chamber Music America, and Meet the Composer.

After a decade dominated by three very large pieces, in which at least some of the time I had to rely on what I knew how to do, literary and visual analogies have been helpful.

Trio No. 2 proposes four kinds of narration:

I. Tale. A melody, the subject of the tale, could certainly develop and continue, instead is interrupted, questioned, then gently displaced so that the thread could be picked up more truthfully later on.
II. Ballad. Something bardic, ritualistic, and lapidary is happening.
III. Rumors and Reports. What starts as an insinuation, under the breath, evolves, by inexact association and translation, into something quite assertive.
IV. Enigma. This title certainly does not elicit a program note.

My first trio (1969) was an action-packed little seven-minute essay which I don’t wish to repudiate. Its main virtue, economy, is one I seek to cultivate in my present work. I could populate many pieces with the music which did not become part of Trio No. 2.

--John Harbison