ENS.2015.3b | 10′
Clarinet, Violin, Piano


I. Annihilation

II. Authority

III. Acceptance

The original version of my Septet included a movement that was cut because it did not ultimately seem to belong in the piece, but Sarah Goldfeather, the music director of the commissioning ensemble Exceptet, asked if there was some way it might be salvaged. I remembered how after Stravinsky completed L’Histoire du soldat he made a smaller, abridged version for clarinet, violin, and piano, and this instrumentation seemed perfect for resurrecting the material of the abandoned movement.

I decided to make an arrangement not only of the excised movement but the remaining two as well. Because the original Septet was predicated on compositional ideas involving the now-absent bass drum, and because the thick textures of the original could not be replicated with this more transparent small ensemble, I recomposed much of the piece, redistributing the musical material, adding and cutting as I saw fit.

Thus though the finished work resembles the original it is not precisely an arrangement, and I have therefore renamed it Trio and retitled the movements Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance, after Jeff VanderMeer’s masterful Southern Reach Trilogy. Trio joins my Sextet, Septet, and Octet in an expanding series of works in which abstract musical material and unrelated extramusical narratives engage in dialectical conversation.