Familial Banter

Familial Banter (1996) explores the “family” aspect of chamber music playing. Individual instruments have characters (sometimes well defined, sometimes less so), explore roles (individually, in collaboration with one or two others, and collectively), and generally interact with or react against each other. The roles vary widely, from leader / followers, to multiple leaders, to a leader with no followers, to all members collaborating in perfect agreement. Although moment-to-moment shifts are sometimes dramatic, the piece is cast in a single movement of three distinct sections: fast (scurrying), slow (relaxed), fast (animated). Underlying all the different aspects of this family is a common genetic makeup: in this case harmonic material heard most clearly by a tutti at the apex of the slow section. This harmonic material (and the bass line from it, which serves as an important anchor) appears throughout the piece, and in fact has a tonal center on the pitch C#, which both opens the piece and serves as the “tonic” or foundation of the final chord.