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|Quartet for Brass
|I-Catalogue NumberI-Cat. No.
|Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp.
|1979-04-20 in Schenectady, New York, Union College. Metropolitan Brass Quartet
|Average DurationAvg. Duration
|11 1/2 minutes
|Composer Time PeriodComp. Period
|Two trumpets, horn, and bass trombone
Commissioned by the Metropolitan Brass Quartet
Each of the Quartet’s four movements explores a specific idea, and the brass ensemble is heard in differing contexts. For example, in “Variations,” the first movement, Fine creates a stark intervallic texture which later becomes a retrograde and then accumulates energy by doubling its speed…The ensemble becomes more brasslike for the second movement, “Fanfare,” in which the listener hears various pairings of the instruments in a contrapuntal texture that is meticulously shaped through dynamics, attacks, and, at times, microtonal tuning. “Eclogue” is quiet and sparse with solo instrumental lines, ending with a prolonged C that is colored by changes in dynamics and mutes. The fourth movement, “Variations,” becomes more lively as the ensemble presents individual and unison lines that punctuate the rapidly changing rhythmic patterns. ...“Variations” is constantly dancing. Material is reused as canons, retrogrades, and in augmentation, but the energy never ceases, and the listener does not have time to register the compositional manipulations.
“…much fresh and truly innovative material. Various unusual crescendo-glissando combinations, for instance, and an occasional quasi-pointillist usage of the brasses come as delicious surprises. This is a work that should certainly be added to the repertory of the university and professional brass ensembles emerging in such numbers these days."
“This is spare but by no means unlyrical music….Vivian Fine has written one of the most thoughtful and least showy of brass-ensemble pieces in her 1978 quartet, a work which manages to be as technically fascinating as it is pleasurable.”
“It was all striking, but Fine’s work captured my imagination. In the third movement, trumpet and trombone players took to the rear of the Greenwall Music Workshop, where they echoed and responded to the notes being played on stage. Fine drew a picture of a conversation and of distance—and then of distance bridged. It was beautiful, and very moving.”