Duration – 9:45
(alternate part combining timpani and percussion for 1 player)
Quintet for Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano
My intent in this composition is to explore the shifting and illusionary world of the dream state. Mirage begins with a slow meditative introduction representing the act of falling asleep. A solo viola cadenza follows, starting a sequence of musical episodes, each emphasizing different emotions and parts of a dream. As the string orchestra enters, the music takes on a melancholy air with occasional mysterious interludes. In the next section, the music speeds up and takes on a restless and more intense character employing a bluesy and jazz-infused theme. The music moves into a more flowing and serene section before leading into a faster and more agitated section representing the dream taking a more troubled direction. Leading to an unsettling climax, the music abruptly stops leaving silence. The original meditative music returns as the dreamer starts to awake entering that in-between world of wondering if the dream was real or not.
Mirage is based on three musical motifs which are continuously evolving and developing, giving the music an unstable yet unified character. The first two motifs are heard in the opening five bars. The third motif is introduced in the first allegro section. The form can be considered a fantasia or fantasy variation.
Motif 1 – ascending perfect 5th, minor 2nd, and perfect 5th (bars 1-3)
Motif 2 – descending minor 2nd, and major 3rd, then an ascending major 2nd (bars 4-5)
Motif 3 – ascending minor 3rd, major 2nd, and minor 3rd (bars 44-45)
Commissioning and First Performance
Mirage was originally composed for orchestra and was commissioned by the Orchestras Mississauga (John Barnum, music director) with the assistance of a Canada Council for the Arts composer residency grant. The re-orchestrated version of Mirage for string orchestra was commissioned by the Orchestras Mississauga and Soundstreams Canada (Lawrence Cherney, artistic director) and again was assisted by the Canada Council for Arts composer residency grant. The first performance of the string orchestra version was on February 19, 2007 at the Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, featuring the Amici Strings and the University of Toronto Schools String Ensemble conducted by Joaquin Valdepenas.