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Recorded by the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, Michael Stern, conductor, on
Naxos American Classics
8.559201

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Duration: 7 minutes

GRAD Ū (1999)
for Bass Clarinet, Vibraphone, Piano, Violin, Cello, and Doublebass

It's a natural temptation in writing a piece to celebrate the anniversary of a group called Parnassus to make reference to the title of the famous musical treatise Gradūs ad Parnassum. Of course, Fux's weighty tome was about counterpoint, and there's hardly a stitch of imitative counterpoint in my Gradūs. Rather, the connection I found with the title lay in the image of a group of friends making their way quite cheerfully up to the abode of the Muses, perhaps pausing along the way to gaze at the summit before continuing on with renewed energy. I seem to have taken the word gradūs, Latin for 'steps,' to mean 'dance-steps' rather than 'stairs,' thus making my little processional quite a bit more Dionysian than Apollonian. But this seeming lapse is certainly to be forgiven in the face of the occasion, and I very happily and gratefully dedicate this piece to my friend and champion, Anthony, and the superb players of his ensemble.




 

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