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Gunther Schuller

Publisher: AMP

Games (2013)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Sub Category
Year Composed
10 Minutes
Unavailable Explain this...

  • 09 FEB 2014
    Games World Premiere
    Jordan Hall, Boston MA
    Boston Symphony Chamber Players

The piece itself is a one-movement work scored for wind quintet and strings. Some of its games are rhythmic ones, as Schuller stacks up jostling rhythms on top of each other in enjoyably teetering proportions. Many are connected to quotations, veiled and less so, of snippets from Strauss, Rossini, Ravel, and appropriately enough in the work’s final chords, Mozart’s “Musical Joke.” But at no point does the work risk falling captive to its references. In the sheer velocity of its musical ideas, in its witty diversions voiced through a challenging chromatic language, the work feels like classic Schuller.
Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe,2/11/2014
Gunther Schuller’s Games, a dectet for strings and winds, offered a moment of light-hearted fun. At almost 90 years old, Schuller is still going strong, and as in other works in his wide-ranging corpus, Games has the characteristic clear textures, snappy rhythms, and overlapping phrases that grind against each other for spiky dissonances. In its taut, ever-evolving form, polyrhythms stack upon one another and melodic shards are passed from one instrument to another.

The most delightful aspect of this piece is its name-that-tune play on quotations from familiar repertoire. It would take more than one hearing to locate more, but hints of Rossini’s Barber of Seville, Richard Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel, and the closing phrases of Johann Strauss’s On the Beautiful Blue Danube were easy to spot. A quotation of the final ear-bending bars of Mozart’s Musical Joke brought this exciting piece to a close.
Aaron Keebaugh, Boston Classical Review,2/10/2014
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