For Sharan Leventhal

  • pf/
  • 15 min

Programme Note

I first worked with Sharan Leventhal in the late 1980's, during rehearsals in Boston for the world premiere of Marimolin Inventions, written for her and the marimbist Nancy Zeltsman. It was an exciting occasion collaborating with two such wonderful musicians, and so I was delighted to be commissioned by her husband Steven Cornelius to compose a piece for Sharan and the other members of the Gramercy Trio.

Structurally, the trio divides into two movements of approximately equal length that play without a break. In the first movement, I wanted to evoke a mesmerising musical landscape completely suspended in time. The piece begins with an unfolding isorhythmic melody, played in the left hand of the solo piano. On to this repeating mechanism, heterophonic and contrasting musical layers are superimposed, creating a gradually transforming kaleidoscope of interwoven musical textures between the three instrumentalists.

By contrast, the second movement is quixotic in character, and is constructed out of the juxtaposition of the musicians in different ensemble groupings: Solo Piano, Violin and Piano, Violin and Cello, Cello and Piano and finally Violin, Cello and Piano. The complex and fast moving musical figurations of the piece, cycle continuously through an harmonic sequence of twelve 12-note chords. Out of this unifying process, the ssdmusic is constantly varying and slowly accelerates to a final culminating 'trio' texture where it literally evaporates into thin air

Simon Bainbridge 2008


Score sample