Poem of Soft Music

for flute, cello, and piano, 1975, duration: 10 minutes.2,3

            Poem of Soft Music (1975), written for and dedicated to The Huntingdon Trio, was inspired by Robert Herrick's poem entitled 'Soft Music': 'The mellow touch of music most doth wound/The soul, when it doth rather sigh than sound.'  These lines also suggest an orientation for performers and listeners.

            The principal motive, a four-note melody heard at both the cello's and the flute's first entrances, seems questioning and unresolved.  After its appearance in many transformations throughout the piece, the flute takes it over at the very end, but the last note of the motive is displaced, resolving down a minor seventh rather than up a major second: a melodic answer to the question that it has posed earlier.

            A second motive, heard at the piano's first entrance, plays an important structural role.  The richness and forcefulness of the piano chords in the ascending tritone leap are more assertive that the principal motive yet still soulful.  The motive reappears in the piano toward the end to mark the beginning of the conclusion which, recalling the early section, provides symmetry in the work.


The Huntingdon Trio

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1 Published by Theodore Presser Co., Inc.

2 Published by Carl Fischer, Inc. = available from Theodore Presser Co., Inc.

3 Recorded by CRI. - available from New World CRI :  Catalog No. NWCRL484

4 Recorded by SEAMUS Recordings

5 Available from the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music

6 Recorded by Black Canyon Recordings

7 Recorded by Albany Recordsk

T   © Larry Nelson 2017