Legacy for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano

For: Quartet
page one of Legacy for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano

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Legacy for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano


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Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
18 minutes
Modern classical music
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Legacy is a three movement composition that makes social commentary on the issue of global warming. It was commission and premiered by the Washington Sinfonietta, Rufus Jones, conductor, and later transcribed by the composer for quartet for the chamber music group, enhaké". I. Conflicts - This movement begins with a "cry" from native cultures admonishing our neglect of the environment. The cry is interspersed with "debate" regarding the seriousness of global warming. The debate grows stronger as the cries grow weaker. The debate is quieted by a measure of repeated chords that could be the words, "stop it! stop it now!". A weak cry in the clarinet brings the introduction to a close. An Allegro section follows with a rhythmic and  primitive sounding section representing the underdeveloped nations that are destroying the rain forests for economic gain. This material evolves into a more harmonic and contrapuntal section representing industrialized nations reluctant to change, also for economic reasons. Things quiet down as the music takes the listener to another part of the globe, East Asia. Conflict is again present in this section. The music returns to a varied restatement of the industrialized nations music before traveling to India for a section influenced by Raga. This section builds in dissonance until we hear the repeated "stop it now" chords from the introduction. A brief reprise of the cries bring the movement to a close. II. Consequences - This movement evokes a somber mood that is reflective of living in a climate of extremes. The movement is in arch form as it begins and ends with open harmony reflective of barren lands that once were fertile. The middle section serves as a climax expressive the harshness of the climate. Colleen McCollough’s book, "A Creed for the Third Millennium" was a source of inspiration for this movement. III. Sacrifice and Compromise - The movement begins with a strong section that suggests progress. It is followed by a quieter and intense section that alternates lyrical lines over a staccato ostinato that creates a sense of urgency. The opening section returns and is followed by a development of the ostinato section. This section is symbolic of how ideas need to be adapted in order for progress to be made. The opening section returns once more before leading into the concluding section where there is coming together of the instruments on a long lyrical line representing more and more people working together for change. The movement ends with a sense of triumph over adversity. Legacy has been recorded by enhaké" on the Emeritus Recordings CD Legacy.

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