PROGRAMME NOTES

Celebration Trio

Violin, clarinet and piano (2009)
Fugue – Lullaby – Dance

Commissioned by the Verdehr Trio and Michigan State University

These three pieces form another set based on a story by the British poet John Heath-Stubbs (1918-2006) called The Unicorns in these new arrangements for trio. Previously the Lullaby, originally a song, was arranged for oboe, clarinet, soprano saxophone or flute with piano and also exists for piano left hand and piano solo. Two unicorns are discovered in a remote part of Africa. The two countries Eastland and Westland want to obtain specimens for research so they send out competing expeditions. The Westland technique is to lure the unicorn with a young girl singing - the Lullaby. The Eastland team uses a dancer so that the unicorn impales itself on a tree – the Dance. Both teams are successful in capturing a unicorn but the mythical animals fall in love and escape happily together in the end.

In the story, the Fugue celebrates the eventual capture of the unicorns but it is placed first here as a celebration of the remarkable career of the Verdehr Trio.* Since they began in 1972 and retired in 2015 they have commissioned over 230 works, have performed all over the world and made many recordings. As a result they have virtually created the repertoire for the medium of violin, clarinet and piano. I wrote my American Trio (Hymns, Rags and Blues) for them in 1985; they played it all over the world and have recorded it; and this Celebration Trio is a tribute to their musicianship and phenomenal enterprise.
PD

* See Peter Dickinson: The Verdehr Trio – an astonishing Legacy, Musical Opinion, July-September 2016.

See The Unicorns for other versions

© 2008-17 Peter Dickinson

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