Views of a Landscape

for soprano voice, violin, cello and piano (1996)
duration is c. 15′
in four movements
1) Resonances 2) Blue Noise 3) Sfumato 4) Decay (in white light)
commissioned by the Peabody Trio and Phyllis Bryn-Julson

Views of a Landscape was commissioned by the Peabody Trio and soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson. The piece is inspired by the late landscape paintings of Cézanne who often spoke of his work in terms such as rhythm and timbre. Each movement of Views of a Landscape explores the musical application of a technical procedure observed in Cézanne’s late landscape works. The first movement, Resonances, explores the spectral construction of the resonance of a chord as it is taken through various inversions in the piano. The piano plays single block chords and the other instruments amplify the spectral timbral evolution of the piano’s resonance. Blue Noise explores the distortion of a “monocolor” through processes of signal distortion. It is inspired by the process observed in the densely swirling monocolor landscapes such as Paysage Bleu. Sfumato applies this painting technique of brush stroke and color to musical rhythm. Musical depth is explored through the use of polyrhythmic transformation. Decay (in white light) is modeled after the very late water color and pencil pieces Cézanne composed just before his death, pieces which are minimal in material and appear to dissipate before the eye.

score excerpt

Views of a Landscape score
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