Music by Daniel Dorff


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Perennials for Flute, Clarinet in A, and Piano (21')

In April 2010, I had the great pleasure of hearing legendary piccoloist Walfrid Kujala and the wind ensemble at Northwestern University try out the new band version of FLASH! which Wally commissioned to premiere at NFA 2010. In the car ride from the airport, Sherry Kujala asked what I'm writing lately, and I answered "my fifth piece for flute and clarinet duo, and I wish someone would commission a trio for flute, clarinet, and piano."

A day after I arrived back home, Wally and Sherry asked if I'd accept a new commission for flute, clarinet, and piano, to celebrate the retirement of Helen Ann Shanley and Richard Shanley, the flute and clarinet professors at Baylor University, where Sherry had studied with Helen Ann.

While beginning work on the trio in July 2010, I was learning to garden for the first time and had decided to spend the summer enriching my new backyard with perennials that I could plant once and enjoy forever. I was very taken with this metaphor about building permanent structures and have always felt that composing is about building repertoire that endures, rather than popping out annual crops. This attitude has always governed how I think about creating and publishing music, and parallels just about everything else in life, building for the longterm, like the messages of The Three Little Pigs (which I've set to music) and The Ant and the Grasshopper (which I haven't set yet).

Relationships between people, and between people and employers, are no different, and in celebrating the Shanleys teaching together at Baylor for many decades, the parallels between all these "perennial vs. annual" metaphors became striking. I had to call the trio PERENNIALS to tie everything together - celebrating the Shanleys' lives and careers together, and everything else perennial about ideals in music and life. 

The 7-minute commission turned into a 5-movement suite of 21 minutes, and it became something of a life cycle. There's some perennial music planted within, some subtle and some audible, most notably a recurring phrase from Machaut's Messe de Notre Dame, composed in 1377 and still on the cutting edge today. 

PERENNIALS was fortunate to have "3 premieres" in late 2011:
WORLD PREMIERE by Sherry Kujala flute, Larry Combs clarinet, Nolan Pearson; Evanston IL piano, 10/12/11.
EAST COAST PREMIERE by Lois Herbine flute, Arne Running clarinet, Charles Abramovic piano; Glenside PA, 10/14/11.
WEST COAST PREMIERE by Cindy Anne Broz flute, Mark Margolies clarinet, Corry Bell piano; Temecula CA, 12/18/11.

RECORDING on Albany TROY1404; Leonard Garrison flute, Shannon Scott clarinet, Rajung Yang piano.
AUDIO EXCERPTS from the CD:
        from Mvt. 1, Joyous Overture
        from Mvt. 2, Romance
        from Mvt. 3, Scherzo
        from Mvt. 4, Winter Prayer
        from Mvt. 5, Spring Awakening

  

  

last updated 2/3/13
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