Oboe (doubling English Horn), Clarinet (doubling Bass Clarinet), Horn, Violin, Viola, Violoncello and Contrabass
Duration: ca. 10 minutes
Publisher: C. F. Peters Corporation, Edition Peters 67811
Performed by the Empyrean Ensemble, Ross Bauer, conductor, Noe Valley Ministry, November 14, 1999.
When you are reminded by the instruments was composed for Anthony Korf and Parnassus with the generous assistance of a commission from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard. It was premiered by Parnassus, conducted by Mr. Korf, at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City on March 24, 1997. Its title is taken from a passage (reproduced below) from Walt Whitman’s A Song for Occupations. The work begins with fast, rhythmically vigorous music; in the slower central section a lullaby-like melody gradually emerges, played in its entirety first by the horn, and immediately thereafter by the English horn. After a brief climax, this section gradually dissolves into a lyrical, unaccompanied bass clarinet solo, which is joined by a chorale-like passage for the muted strings, played without vibrato and based on the harmonic material of the opening of the piece. From this emerges a brief violin solo, which acts as a transition into the syncopated gigue-like concluding section. During this final portion of the work, the horn, counterpointed by the oboe, plays a rhythmically displaced version of a melody that was initially heard in the lower strings, English horn and bass clarinet at the outset of the central section. A fleeting reference to a fragment of the lullaby tune in the woodwinds and horn brings the piece to a close.
From A Song for Occupations
All architecture is what you do to it when you look upon it,
(Did you think it was in the white or gray stone? Or the lines
of the arches and cornices?)
All music is what awakes from you when you are reminded
by the instruments,
It is not the violins and the cornets, it is not the oboe nor the
beating drums, nor the score of the baritone
singer singing his sweet romanza, nor that of the
men’s chorus, nor that of the women’s
It is nearer and farther than they.
- Contemporary Classical