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Works for 2-6 Players
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Sextet for English Horn, Bass Clarinet, and String Quartet
(1997), the issues that engaged me in thinking through the arch of the sextet included transparency, parity, and complexity paired with simplicity. The first movement,
, gives each player in succession a leading line. With each repetition, the lines decrease until a single note remains. As the distance between the lines decreases, a heightened intensity is felt, somewhat like an imagined pull into a black hole. This moves to a new, spare phrase that closes the movement and leads to the second movement,
. This movement moves to different dramatic levels, each level countered by a response that transcends the previous section. The final section of the movement for the first time finds the English Horn and the Bass Clarinet alone singing a quiet song. Movement III has great urgency. The winds are initially separated from the quartet. They have different musical ideas that react against each other. Over its course the sextet meshes, leading the work to an explosive ending.
The Sextet was even more impressive on second listening. The sequence of ideas is unpredictable but persuasive. And Laderman’s handling of his unusual ensemble… not only produces wonderful shades of color but also is always transparent.
Mark Kanny, Pittsburgh Tribune,1/1/0001
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