Despite our differences #2
for piano & chamber orchestra (1988)
Composer Facsimile Edition, 10 minutes
“a remarkable work” (The Tech)
Despite our differences #2 is a percussive, fast-paced movement for piano and chamber orchestra. It was written for the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Cambridge, Massachusetts and premiered there at Sanders Theater in 1988 with Randall Hodgkinson, pianist, and David Hoose, conductor. In 1990 the piece was performed by the Memphis Chamber Symphony Orchestra under Charles Evans with Kelly DeVuyst, pianist.
Like Despite our differences #1 for piano trio, this piece contrasts the chordal and percussive qualities of the piano with the legato and lyric qualities of melodic instruments, in this case winds as well as strings. The differences become increasingly blurred as the piece progresses. In addition, another element is introduced: the rich tradition of the American spiritual.
Portions of several spirituals (“Walk together children,” “Give me your hand,” and “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child”) recur in the orchestra throughout the piece. Although the soloist finally and exuberantly joins the orchestral unisons near the end, the piece fades away on a question mark as the strings sustain an unresolved dominant underneath a rather wistful repetition of a fragment of the tune.
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