• Yehudi Wyner
  • Romances for Piano Quartet (1980)

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

Programme Note

Composer Note:

Two Romances for Piano Quintet was written for the Cantilena Chamber Players early in 1980. A few days after its completion it was first performed at the Neuberger Museum at the State University of New York at Purchase, and shortly thereafter at the Clark Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Perhaps in a curious way it is a museum piece, assembling, as it does, numerous allusions to music of the Romantic past. The ghosts of Schubert and Chausson, Brahms and Mahler and even Poulenc insinuate themselves into the melodic, harmonic and gestural maneuvers of this music, though at no point are actual quotations indulged; nor is parody intended. It is simply that certain musical elements from the past are as present and alive for me as are current processes and materials. Schubert feels to me as urgently relevant as Schönberg, Stravinsky and Carter. The music of the composers I love (there are many) revolves in the same space in my musical imagination regardless of time or origin of composition.

The surface of Romances is simple. The forms, phrase shapes, cadences, rhythmic regularities, should make it easy for listeners to know where they are. Romance II is perhaps a bit more elusive, but the alternation of a poetic slow music with quick, animated, sometimes violent music, can be perceived at once. These simple forms provide the listener (or performer) with a general map of the territory, perhaps encouraging further exploration.

Much of the tonal raw material of Romancesis exposed in the opening piano flourish of Intermezzo I. At the beginning of Romance II an infusion of new material is permitted and in the further course of the work all materials are freely integrated.

— Yehudi Wyner