I. Mad Wind’s Night Work II. Slow Structures III. Silent Syllables IV. Snow-Melting Time
Flute, cello, piano
Commissioned by the Minnesota Commissioning Club for the Meininger Trio
Premiered by the Meininger Trio at the Musikfestspiele Sanssouci Festival; Palmensaal Neuer Garten; Potsdam, Germany on June 17, 2005.
Libby Larsen Publishing
I have lived much of my life in Minneapolis, Minnesota, near the Canadian border in the United States, where a kind of frozen, austere beauty inspires the hundreds of writers, painters, dancers, and composers who live here. Here, we know the rhythm and flow of water in all its guises in ways that are known only to people who live in cold, northern climates. Living with snow tutors the soul in mystical understanding of how time operates on us as human beings.
Slow Structures for flute, cello, and piano, is a composed in the manner of an object poem, which takes its inspiration from winter snow: its tempi, its beautiful, translucent light, its mystic, infinitely shifting suggestive shapes. The title of each movement is inspired by fragments of poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Tomas Tranströmer. The piece examines the slow formation of frozen form. The music begins with the force of a blizzard, slightly fierce, virtuosic in its gestures, and given form by the impetus of the force of nature. Then, the musical motives begin to settle in relationship to each other, slowly creating a structure which is both recognizable and unrecognizable. Within the structure, the musical gestures of the opening express themselves in new ways in which we recognize them only by what we can no longer audibly perceive. Finally, the slow structure in which the musical elements have been operating begin to loosen, melt as it were, creating a hypnotic atmosphere—much like the hypnotic effect of the drip of a melting icicle.
All trills should last for the full duration of the indicated note.