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Joan Tower

Publisher: AMP

Turning Points (1995)
Publisher
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Category
Works for 2-6 Players
Sub Category
Mixed Ensemble
Year Composed
1995
Duration
16 Minutes
Orchestration
Availability


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Score and Part(s) Score and Part(s)

Programme Note
Joan Tower Turning Points (1995)
The Clarinet Quintet “Turning Points” was co-commissioned by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the following members of the Wisconsin Presenter’s Network: The Artists Series at the Pabst, Milwaukee; Lawrence University Artists Series, Appleton; and the Wisconsin Union Theater, Madison.

Composer Note:

Turning Points is dedicated to The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s artistic director, David Shifrin. In this 15-minute work, the opening clarinet solo introduces the main thematic material for the whole of this one movement piece. There are four distinct melodic ideas which form the basis of the piece. The first idea is a long held note which, after a crescendo, briefly touches the notes above and below and returns to itself. This idea is dramatic yet “held” in place. The second idea ascends slowly and quietly. The third is a consonant short arpeggiation that rises, rests, and falls. Although this has the effect of an interlude, it later becomes the basis for a larger section. (For those of you who like Bartók, you might recognize this from his “Contrasts.” I never have been able to shed this particular motive!) The fourth theme is another “held” motive, this time a wide interval (a tenth) that is slow and dolce. It appears at the end of the solo when the quartet quietly comes in, picking up the final notes of the clarinet solo. These four ideas are developed and transformed throughout the piece taking on recognizable but different identities as they interact more and more with each other.

—Joan Tower

  • Ensemble
    Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
    Soloist(s)
    David Shifrin, clarinet; Ani Kavafian and Ida Kavafian, violins; Fred Sherry, cello; Paul Neubauer, viola
    Delos:
Reviews
Tower's TURNING POINTS simply spoke music, fluently and melodically, to say something new. The clarinet (Heighan Stoops) sent up a solo line with four thematic passages that she and a string quartet then pondered in a happy, solid satisfying weighty way. It didn't hurt that the first violin in this piece, David Bowlin, made the most of his singing lines, answered by André Emelianoff's rich basso cello.
Anne Midgette, The New York Times,1/1/0001
[In] TURNING POINTS, one admires the composer's expert line in what might be called 'stasis music,' whether it was quietness just being quiet, or a quietness generative of something strikingly and graphically different. [And,] Tower's music, brimming with commitment, always seems to invite [both] performer and listener.
Richard Buell, Boston Globe,1/1/0001
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