ensemble two violins, viola, ‘cello, bass, clarinet, bassoon, horn, and piano (or clarinet and piano)
duration 10 minutes
written summer 2007 (ensemble)/spring 2011 (cl. & pno.)
commissioned by The Hindemith Ensemble (ensemble)/Derek Bermel (cl. & pno.)
premièred February 7, 2008, New Haven, CT/August 5, 2011, Los Angeles, CA
published by ↪︎ Project Schott New York
Note: Play it by Ear exists in two versions. The original, from 2007, is for mixed nonet; the clarinetist Derek Bermel asked me for a clarinet and piano version in 2011, and I happily obliged.
My second piece for The Hindemith Ensemble is intentionally quite different from my first (Variations for an Odd Band, since withdrawn). In place of the excited jumble of juxtaposed materials is a fairly homogenous, intensely lyrical, somewhat melancholy song. Instruments play either long, vocal lines or busy accompanimental textures, represented by the clarinet and piano, respectively; this dichotomy remains sharply defined throughout the piece.
Writing for friends always feels relaxing and easy for me; similarly, the experience of playing music with friends is equal parts work, camaraderie, and pure fun. The title Play it by Ear refers to that feeling.
recorded live at Roulette, NYC, March 2008
performers Miki Cloud and Nicholas DiEugenio, violins; Anne Lanzilotti, viola; Hannah Collins, cello; Cameron Arens, bass; Rebecca Doggett, clarinet; Aaron Apaza, bassoon; Alma Liebrecht, horn; Timo Andres, piano
recorded live at Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, November 2011
performers Derek Bermel, clarinet; Timo Andres, piano