Music for Flute, Viola, Guitar and Percussion (Sydeman, William Jay)

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Rickshinozaki (2017/9/14)

Publisher. Info. William Jay Sydeman
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General Information

Work Title Music for Flute, Viola, Guitar and Percussion
Alternative. Title
Composer Sydeman, William Jay
Movements/SectionsMov'ts/Sec's 1
Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp. 1962
First Publication. 1968
Dedication Written for The Contemporary Chamber Ensemble,
Arthur Weisberg (conductor)
Average DurationAvg. Duration 11 minutes
Composer Time PeriodComp. Period Modern
Piece Style Modern
Instrumentation flute, percussion, guitar, viola

Misc. Comments

In 1962, I was asked by Arthur Weisberg, conductor of New York’s famed Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, to create a companion piece to Boulez’s Le marteau sans maître, a state of the art serial piece of that era. My piece is not serial, but who can tell the difference anyway? It just sounded well enough to get a large article in the New York Times and other musical journals, whose reviews caused C.F. Peters to take notice and ask to publish it even knowing that the esoteric combination of instruments might limit sales significantly. Huzzah for them! But it was not only the unique instrumentation, but the severe musical and technical demands placed on the all performers which might have constrained sales. Also, it was a thirteen-minute one-movement work (unheard of in those days of post-Webern minutia).

As is my wont, the first few bars lay the groundwork for the whole piece; a series of scurrying statements interposed with cadenza-like viola passages accompanied by (of all things) percussion. It is one of the most demanding works in the repertoire but, as the press would have you believe, is well worth the effort.

– W. Jay Sydeman