Kyle Gann: Catskill Set (Songs Without Words)

for flute, clarinet, trumpet, vibraphone, piano, and string trio

1. Rocks
2. In the Fields
3. The Pond
4. Roadside
5. Summer

Catskill Set began life as a song cycle, but difficulties with the poet induced me to recast it as an instrumental piece (as Charles Ives did with several of his songs), which also allowed me more scope in expanding the musical material. The piece is, then, in short, five lyrical vignettes connected with life in rural upstate New York. The five-movement form, though, is one I like, and which I have used in Transcendental Sonnets and Implausible Sketches. The first movement, "Rocks," has a brief introduction before introducing a rolling momentum. Next follow two slow movements: the first, "In the Fields," tense and dissonant; the second, "The Pond," sublimely calm, or so I hope. "Roadside" is a more energetic postminimalist movement with my usual out-of-phase rhythmic ostinati. And "Summer," sans trumpet, is a light denouement, the only thing I've ever written in what I consider the dangerous meter of 6/8, with moments of polytonality.

- Kyle Gann

Duration: 14 minutes

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