Shifting Spirits

Violin and cello
10 minutes
2010

Program Note

Shifting Spirits is a work of about 10 minutes in duration, using different sounds against a background of silence to project a mostly playful, comic mood, interspersed with lyrical and virtuoso passages.  Various kinds of tone production (pizzicato, ponticello, harmonics, etc.) will differentiate quick interruptions from more lyrical material.  The opening intersperses pizzicati of various kinds, silences, and snatches of quotations from great works of the string literature, (Beethoven op. 18, no. 1; Brahms Double Concerto). The silences become shorter as these materials are combined in new ways and with more continuity.  Eventually, the material reappears in a very lyrical, canonic contrasting section, leading to a climax, which resolves into virtuoso trills, runs and arpeggios based on variants of the opening materials cycling through various contrasting pitch levels.  Finally, the silences grow longer again, the material diminishes to brief interjections, and the piece comes to a playful conclusion.