Unnamed, Jr. (2010) by Sam Nichols
for clarinet, viola, and piano
World premiere; Earplay commission

Unnamed, Jr. is scored for clarinet, viola, and piano. It's the offspring of work in progress, a chamber opera titled Unnamed (or, the Unnamed). I began work on the opera about two years ago, but once I figured out that I needed to revise the libretto I'd written, I set it aside. Part of the problem with the libretto was that I had trouble imagining exactly the kind of music I wanted to write (a chicken-and-egg situation: without the libretto, no music; without the music, no libretto). I decided that a companion piece would help me break out of this impasse. Unnamed, Jr. is a series of sketches toward the larger piece. It’s a kind of holding pen for all of the melodic, harmonic, textural, gestural and dramatic ideas that have been emerging as I think about the opera. Unnamed, Jr. is dedicated, with great respect and admiration, to Mary Chun and the musicians of Earplay.

— S. N.    

[from program for February 8, 2010 concert]