Earplay Fantasy (1995) by Andrew Imbrie
for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion
World premiere; Earplay commission

I. Allegro Assai
II. Allegretto con Fuoco
III. Adagio
IV. Vivace

Earplay Fantasy is a four-movement piece dedicated to my old friend William B. Carlin and commissioned by Earplay. Scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion, it was written with that ensemble in mind. The first movement is introductory in nature: it begins with a brief violin melody, followed by a flute-and-clarinet duet. The cello has the last word, and the movement ends with an unaccompanied solo for that instrument. The second movement features a complex meter (alternating measures of 5 and 6 beats) and is intended as a kind of fiery scherzo. It begins with a dialogue between the drums and the rest of the ensemble. The next passage is more lyrical, though the tempo and beat remain unchanged. `After the climax of this section, a return of the dialogue with the percussion comes more as a fleeting memory than as a recapitulation. The slow movement sets the wind and string groups in dialogue with the piano. The percussion is silent until the very end, at which time the vibraphone enters discretely into a final conversation with the piano. The last movement attempts, in its role as finale, to pull everything together: there are faint allusions to events from previous movements, but mostly the intent is to depict a cheerful outcome.

— A. I.    

[from program for February 1, 2016 concert]