• ca, bcl, 2vn, va, vc
  • 21 min

Programme Note

Composer Note:

In Sextet for English Horn, Bass Clarinet, and String Quartet (1997), the issues that engaged me in thinking through the arch of the sextet included transparency, parity, and complexity paired with simplicity. The first movement, Allegro Molto, gives each player in succession a leading line. With each repetition, the lines decrease until a single note remains. As the distance between the lines decreases, a heightened intensity is felt, somewhat like an imagined pull into a black hole. This moves to a new, spare phrase that closes the movement and leads to the second movement, Gently Mysterious. This movement moves to different dramatic levels, each level countered by a response that transcends the previous section. The final section of the movement for the first time finds the English Horn and the Bass Clarinet alone singing a quiet song. Movement III has great urgency. The winds are initially separated from the quartet. They have different musical ideas that react against each other. Over its course the sextet meshes, leading the work to an explosive ending.

— Ezra Laderman