Composers Datebook®

with host John Zech

Thursday, July 5

Chamber works by Zwilich and Paulus

Synopsis

"Chamber music” is typically defined as “music written for and performed by a small ensemble, with one performer on a part, usually without a conductor.” To that description the Website of a Portland, Oregon, organization called Chamber Music Northwest, adds this description: “Music that is inspiring, stimulating and intensely personal.”

And they should know: Chamber Music Northwest performs both the classical chamber works of the past and commissions new ones. For example, it was on this date in 1990, at one of their concerts, that clarinetist David Shifrin premiered a Quintet for Clarinet and Strings by the American composer Ellen Taafe Zwillich.

Zwillich says, “In writing chamber music, I am particularly inspired by the electricity of a dialogue among equals. When a performer can be asked to be a brilliant soloist one moment and a responsive partner the next, the possibilities for musical discourse are seemingly endless.”

Today’s date also marks the debut of another chamber work born in the Great Northwest: “Partita Appasionata,” by Stephen Paulus, premiered by violinist William Preucil and pianist Arthur Rowe at the 1996 Seattle Chamber Music Festival.

“One of the joys of writing chamber music,” said Paulus, “is that quite often the composer also knows the performers. So, not only are you writing a work for an intimate gathering of musicians, but for your friends—and that relationship often encourages a deeper and more meaningful musical dimension as well.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (b. 1939) Clarinet Quintet David Shifrin, cl; Ida and Ani Kavafian, vn; Paul Neubauer, vla; Fred Sherry, vcl Delos 3183

Stephen Paulus (1949 - 2014) Partita Appassionata Troy Gardner, violin; Jill Dawe, piano innova 539

Additional Information

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