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The year without a summer : for piano trio

by Stuart Greenbaum (2009)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by NZTrio from the CD 800 million heartbeats

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800 million heartbeats


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800 million heartbeats / NZTrio plays the music of Stuart Greenbaum.

Library shelf no. CD 2481 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

The eruption in 1815 of Mt. Tambora on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa was over four times as big as the eruption of Krakatoa later that century but perhaps not as well known. The ash and dust thrown up into the earth's upper atmosphere further resulted in 'the year without a summer' in 1816. This was by all accounts a devastating ecological event that caused unseasonal cold temperatures and widespread famine.

The first movement of this trio is short and fast. It imagines a dark cloud of dust approaching from the distance, not knowing where it came from. Did it seem a premonition? How long did they think it would last? The longer second movement shifts forward to 1816 and contemplates the upheaval of people's lives - of having their world turned upside down in one way or another and having to regroup and adjust to new circumstances.

Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: Violin, cello, piano.

Duration: 15 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: I: 1815 – And then the sky was filled with ash -- II: 1816 – The year without a summer.

Dedication note: Dedicated to NZTrio. Dedicated to NZTrio Justine Cormack, Ashley Brown, Sarah Watkins

Commission note: Commissioned with funds provided by Australia Council. Music Board.. Commissioned by the Trans–Tasman Composer Exchange Program administered by AMC and SOUNZ

First performance: by NZTrio — 18 Apr 10. Waikato University, Hamilton, NZ


Analytical notes: Stuart Greenbaum's The year without a summer
notes by the composer

Resonate article: Trans-Tasman Blog # 2 by Stuart Greenbaum


Performances of this work

14 Jul 2011: at NZ Trio & Richard Nunns (Butchers' Hall). Featuring NZTrio.

7 May 2010: at Triple Helix (Eugene Goossens Hall). Featuring NZTrio.

18 Apr 10: Waikato University, Hamilton, NZ. Featuring NZTrio.

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