Trio (d'après Schoenberg) (2004) by Patricia Alessandrini
for clarinet, cello, piano, and electronics
US premiere

As in many of my recent works, this Trio is a "reading" of an existing work, in this case of the String Trio of Arnold Schoenberg. In the context of the circumstances under which the work was composed (Schoenberg describes his experience of being clinically dead and returning to life), I considered the Trio, with its disturbing, even violent passages, as a kind of exorcism of fear. From a compositional point of view, this Trio shares a number of elements with its model: extended techniques often involving the use of noise, an almost eclectic diversity of materials within a rigorous global structure, and sharp contrasts of register, all within a compressed version of the original form: three movements with two interludes, played in continuity. In this contemplation of the original work, every gesture has its resonance: the natural resonance of the piano is enhanced by the amplification and the use of the sostenuto pedal, the clarinet plays over the strings of the piano in order to create a sympathetic resonance, and an artificial resonance is created by the electronics, creating the illusion of sympathetic strings of the violoncello.

The piece is dedicated to the soloists of the Ensemble InterContemporain, with special thanks to Ivan Fedele, Arman Angster, Thierry Perrout, Eric Daubresse, and Marion Burais.

— P. A.    

[from program for May 20, 2013 concert]