A revelry in one half of the day/night equation, the listener joins the process in medias res. Each player is introduced one by one to showcase the elements featured in the cycle to come: the common shapes of the daytime still familiar yet oddly twisted as night comes on. The clarinet, piano, and violin share the main theme as the shadow of evening rushes on, each lending its unique timbre to tangled arpeggios as the day fades. The overlapping of the three instruments creates a sense at once inexorable and frenetic, as of forest life rushing to shelter as the sun goes down. While each instrument is essential to suggest the multiform colors and characters of the onset of night, it is the interplay between them that best emphasizes the theme. Each part moving independently produces a lucid whole where a strong wind moves through the trees, fracturing the waning light into rays thrown between bare branches. The plunge into night is often violent, yet always organic, as the players trade the harried theme among themselves. The phrases lengthen as the nights grow longer, the twilight merely an echo of autumn colors as the piece settles into winter and the nightfall of the year. The rush of dusk slows, the hues of sunset coming earlier and lasting longer before sinking into a languorous harmony of the three instruments, anchoring the piece for a moment in the stillness of a winter night without stars. But, like clouds moving across the moon, the darkness does not remain static for long. The principle theme returns more urgently, first in the violin, then in the clarinet, then together as the piano continues to provide the impression of mottled light which defines the deeper shadows cast by the other players. The energy builds to the very end, each element climbing higher up its range, leaving the listener perched once again for an inevitable descent.
Program note by Walter Jordan
Please credit Walter Jordan when using this program note