|Genre Categories||; ; ;; ; ;|
|Work Title||Music for Flute, Viola, Guitar and Percussion|
|Composer||Sydeman, William Jay|
|Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp.||1962|
|Dedication||Written for The Contemporary Chamber Ensemble,
|Average DurationAvg. Duration||11 minutes|
|Composer Time PeriodComp. Period||Modern|
|Instrumentation||flute, percussion, guitar, viola|
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