• Yehudi Wyner
  • Ephemera (2011)

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)
  • bass clarinet, cello
  • 6 min

Programme Note

First performance:
March 25 2011
John Sackett, bass clarinet
Jean-Michel Fonteneau, cello
Composers Inc.
San Francisco, CA

Composer's note:
Andrew Imbrie, significant American composer, died in 2007. A resident of Berkeley California he had long been a faculty member of the University of California where his influence on generations of emerging composers was immense. He left behind a rich catalogue of compositions in every genre and his music is copiously represented on recordings.

Early in 2011 a series of events—concerts, symposia, lectures—was organized in his honor in San Francisco largely devoted to his compositions but also presenting work composed in his memory by composer/colleagues. For the first of these concerts I was commissioned to write a modest piece for cello and bass clarinet. The new piece, performed in March 2011 was entitled Ephemera.

I’d always known that the word ephemera characterized things transient, short-lived, fugitive, mercurial, airy and insubstantial. But I had not realized that the root of ephemera is Greek — meaning “upon a day” — and that it refers to a group of delicate insects with gauzy wings, which live for only a few hours or a few days, although the larvae can live for several years.

I make no claims as to the relevance of the title “Ephemera” to the short composition I have fashioned here, nor do I insist upon the possibility that the title alludes to Life itself. What I can say without hesitation is that there is nothing ephemeral about the rich, productive lifework of Andrew Imbrie.

Yehudi Wyner
5 March 2011