Duration of Sunset (Mvt. II): 8'00"
Instrumentation: violin, cello and piano
Written for Helen O'Brien on the occasion of her 98th Birhday
Sunset: Winner of the First Annual Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble New Music Competition
World Premiere: Ming Tsu, piano; Lorenz Gamma, violin, and Mark Tanner, cello, Boston Court Theater, Pasadena, CA, October 19, 2008.
Program Notes (Short Version—For Programs)
Sun Trio is in five-movements and is inspired by the sun. The first movement, Sun Day, begins with a theme borrowed from the soundtrack I wrote for a documentary entitled Journey Into Courage. This movement is meant to evoke the feelings you get when sunbeams appear from between the clouds and warm your skin. In the second movement, Sunset, I envision my wife Victoria and I embracing, doing a Tango-like dance under a multi–colored sunset - at times, to themes from Stravinsky’s L'Histoire du soldat. Victoria is a much better dancer than I, and in this movement, she teaches me the steps. I fumble around and finally get it right, and then the sun sets. The third movement, Absence of Sun, is connected from beginning to end by one long melodic line. The cello melody is modeled after a classical Indian Sitar raga. The bass piano part supplies the drone while a high-pitched tone row supplies a "starry night" texture. This texture gradually melds into a wind chime accompaniment. The fourth movement, Sunrise, is meant to evoke the feeling you get when watching the sun rise and ends with the sound of chirping birds. The last movement, Sun Dance, provides a vibrant, energetic contrast to the other four.
Sun Trio was commissioned by Dennis O’Brien to commemorate the 98th birthday of Helen O’Brien.
– Robert Paterson