premiere: October 2, 2010; Eastern Illinois University; Duo XXI

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Program Notes:

Tamarack (2010)


Tamarack is made up of five short movements. The fast first movement develops into an aggressive interplay between the two instruments. The second movement is a short cello interlude that continues the active materials of the first movement. The third movement is slow and reflective, and the fourth movement continues the mood, but as a short violin interlude. The last movement again is fast, but with a brief recall of the slow movements before an active coda closes the work. The title refers to the tamarack tree, common in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and also the name of the street where my grandparents lived in Gwinn, Michigan. My brother, Bruce, wrote a poem, “Tamaracks and Grandfathers," that describes a warm memory of our grandparents’ house, while framing that memory clearly in the past. The middle movement of Tamarack (and violin interlude, as well as the slow reference in the last movement) reflects the clarity of such a memory within the context of an uncertain and dynamic present.