• John Harbison
  • Trio Sonata (strings) (1994)

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

Programme Note

Composer Notes:

Trio Sonata can be performed in any of the following configurations:
String Trio (Violin, Viola, and Cello)
Double-reed Trio (Oboe, English Horn, and Bassoon)
Clarinet Trio (2 Clarinets in Bb and Bass Clarinet)
Saxophone Trio (Soprano, Alto, and Baritone)
Keyboard Solo (Harpsichord, Fortepiano, Piano, or Electric Keyboard)

Each version is available in a separate edition.

In addition, performers may wish to try mixed configurations (e.g. Violin, English Horn, and Bass Clarinet).

Programs should list the movements and tempo indications:

1. Fast
2. Fast
3. Fast
4. Fast

— John Harbison

Trio Sonata, performed here by three saxophones, is ultimately a practical piece for any three instruments within a certain range. At the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, John Harbison, among many other things, coaches chamber music. As is the case in many schools, students often sign up for chamber music and then are placed into small ensembles by faculty after which appropriate repertory is selected. Such a process always leaves remaining combinations of instruments for which choosing music is difficult if not impossible. Trio Sonata provides for this remainder and it was in his capacity of coaching chamber music that he decided to write such a functional and practical piece.

— Timothy Weiss


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