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27. A String Of Pearls

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

This blog segment deals with performances of some of my ensemble compositions during my first years at the Portland Conservatory. At that time there seemed to be a much greater willingness by faculty members to collaborate on projects without payment which made it a whole lot easier.

My first ensemble performance consisted of two pieces of mine entitled Butterfly and Easter Suite for flute and piano. An earlier reading of the Easter Suite at USM had been well done by two of the USM music department's talented faculty members. The performance at the Portland Conservatory was the first one with me playing piano with a flutist who I had located through advertising. It was wonderfully gratifying to perform it at a conservatory concert in front of a live audience.

The next performance of my work was the first movement of my Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello. That performance came about in a roundabout way. A cello teacher at the conservatory asked me if I had a piece she could perform with her trio. I said I was glad to oblige and set about writing a three movement Piano Trio for her. After I had finished the piece, her trio concert never materialized. However, one of the piano teachers at the conservatory who was planning a concert with a visiting violinist and cellist, was looking for a piece to round out the program and asked if they could play the first movement of my Trio with two other trios by Ravel and Schumann. The movement from my Trio received an enthusiastic response and generated requests to hear the other two movements. The rest is history.

The third ensemble performance was one of my favorite pieces entitled The Hidden Places for woodwind quintet and string bass. It started out well enough but the personnel in the quintet kept changing during rehearsals due to schedule conflicts which resulted in a flawed performance and recording which I felt did not do justice to the piece. (Maybe this was the downside of the musicians not getting paid.) So I discarded the recording and chalked it up to experience.

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