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Joan Tower

Publisher: AMP

Big Sky (2000)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Works for 2-6 Players
Sub Category
Piano Trio
Year Composed
7 Minutes

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   Score and Part(s)

Programme Note
Joan Tower Big Sky (2000)
Composer Note:

Big Sky was commissioned by the La Jolla Chamber Music Society for their "SummerFest La Jolla 2000" music festival.

This slow seven-minute trio for violin, cello and piano was intended as a companion piece to a short and fast trio entitled And… They’re Off (which was commissioned by the Scotia Festival in Canada where I served as composer/conductor-in-residence in 1996). The common subject of these two works is horses—namely race horses. As a young girl—and like many young girls—I had an obsession with horses. When I was growing up in South America, my father bought me a racehorse. This was in Bolivia, where horses, even racehorses, were very cheap. I loved this horse and took very good care of it in our makeshift garage/stable. My obsession with horses continued into my teens when I learned to jump. More recently (and many years later), I found a partner whose main love is playing the horses!

Big Sky is a piece based on a memory of riding my horse "Aymara" around in the deep valley of La Paz, Bolivia. The valley was surrounded by the huge and high mountains of the Andes range; and as I rode I looked into a vast and enormous sky. It was very peaceful and extraordinarily beautiful. We never went over one of these mountains, but if we had, it might have felt like what I wrote in this piece.

—Joan Tower

  • Soloist(s)
    Chee-Yun, violin; André Emelianoff, cello; Joan Tower, piano
  • Ensemble
    The Arcos Trio
    White Pine Music:
Big Sky has somewhat softer contours. It begins and ends in a subdued, melancholy atmosphere, while the climactic central section jars with its abrupt syncopations fleshed our in a robust, quasi-romantic piano writing.
Victor Carr, Jr.,,01/01/0001
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