Rochester Triptych (2014)
for String Quintet
- The North Star
- Canal Chaconne
Duration: 10 min.
Dedication: for Gibbs & Main
Commission: Commissioned by Gibbs & Main for EuphoNY 2014
Publisher: Soundspells Productions
Rochester Triptych (2014) for string quintet was commissioned by Gibbs & Main for EuphoNY 2014. The three movements take their impetus from images related to Rochester, New York, the hometown of both composer and ensemble.
The North Star shares its title with the anti-slavery newspaper published by Frederick Douglass in Rochester from 1847–51. In particular, the music’s tone is drawn from Douglass’s own words; when asked why he created the newspaper, he replied “I still see before me a life of toil and trials…, but justice must be done, the truth must be told…I will not be silent.”
Canal Chaconne reflects more the languid and pastoral present of the Erie Canal (which runs through much of Rochester) rather than its more industrial past. This movement is a lyric solo for the first violin, presented over a repeated sequence of chords in the other strings.
Lilacs refers to Rochester’s beautiful city flower, and the music dances with the excitement of the coming of spring. Rochester’s annual Lilac Festival takes place in early May. It celebrates these iconic flowers through the city and marks a welcome end to the intense upstate New York winters.