Piano Trio : for violin, cello and piano
by Tom Henry (2020)
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The musical material in the first movement 'All the days' is constructed from a simultaneous ascending and (in retrograde) descending sequence of perfect 5ths, reaching all 12 chromatic pitches. Serial pitch and rhythmic processes (including the Fibonacci sequence) and canonic imitation are applied to these sequences, resulting in a series of variations with contrasting levels of harmonic and rhythmic dissonance.
In the following movements, there is a subsequent intervallic division of the original template of stacked perfect 5ths; firstly into 3rds, and then into 2nds (i.e. scale material). While in the first movement the invariable use of stacked 5ths prevents a settled tonal centre, in the second and third movements the insertion of 3rds (and then 2nds) between the 5ths does so.
The second movement 'Being here' begins with a contrasting atmosphere; warmly tonal and still. From open strings emerges a characteristic 'slow movement'; full of melody and tender feeling.
The third and final movement 'Onwards', featuring bustling ascending and descending scales, is in an almost perpetual motion. It plays with rhythm, melody and harmony, and not always in a totally serious way. After all, life is a gift and, on a good day, it's a dance.
Instrumentation: Violin, cello, piano.
Duration: 25 min.
Contents note: I. All the days-- II. Being here -- III. Onwards.
Commission note: Commissioned by Dr Judith Heale for the Firebird Trio
Performances of this work
11 Dec 20: the Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne Digital Concert Hall. Featuring Firebird Trio.
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