Reciprocal Tapestries

Like many of my works, the initial idea for Reciprocal Tapestries arose from my being intrigued with the sound of this particular ensemble. It's not only that the substitution of viola for the standard piano trio's violin exploits a lower range of the ensemble, but there is the darker hue of the viola and the way its color meshes with the cello and piano that give this ensemble a unique and engaging voice. My interest in this ensemble is also related to a viola / cello duo (Englyn Forms) that I wrote in 1994 – I simply enjoyed the sound of that ensemble – as well as some pieces I've heard over the past few years: a viola / cello / piano version of Brahms' Clarinet Trio (made by Johannes himself) being the most notable.

Another idea behind the piece is a formal one: transforming the common fast-slow-fast movement sequence into fast-faster-slow. This sequence is softened (or subverted, depending on one's perception) by each movement starting with a short introduction, which I consider the border of the “tapestry”. My aim in constructing the piece this way was to examine a traditional structure (chamber works of three movements in a slow / fast relationship are quite common) in a fresh way.

Reciprocal Tapestries was completed in late 2004. It is dedicated, with great affection, to Tom Flaherty and Cynthia Fogg, who premiered the work in September, 2005.