08: TRIO ON A POEM OF D.H. LAWRENCE

(Joseph Edwards, clarinet / Walter Mony, viola / Timothy Ehlen, piano) • Each movement of this opus relates to the corresponding stanza of the Lawrence poem. The viola haunts the first movement, hinting at a remote song by William Byrd (1543-1623) in which a mother sings to her child, “my sweet darling, my comfort and joy.”



Softly in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;

Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see

A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, pointed feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

The mellifluous voice of the clarinet dominates the mysterious second movement, in which the composer draws upon thematic material from his Concerto for Woodwind Quintet and Orchestra.



In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cozy parlor, the tinkling piano our guide.

In the third movement the piano becomes prominent by its dramatic rumbling gestures, reminiscent of Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata.



So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamor

With the great black piano appassionato. The glamor
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

As the work draws to a close the ensemble texture is characterized by complex interplay and overlapping phrases, posing a supreme test of ensemble skills.

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