Looking for Answers

for violin, cello, piano and electronics

premiered February 5, 2011
Mojave Trio:
Sara Parkins, violin; Margaret Parkins, cello; Genevieve Feiwen Lee, toy piano

19th Annual Ussachevsky Festival
Lyman Hall, Pomona College
Claremont, CA

Audio links:

I: Frozen Questions

II: Contemplation

III: Dance

This Albany CD collects six of his chamber pieces for strings in exhilarating performances by Flaherty and his frequent collaborators. Flaherty's music possesses an irresistible kinetic energy coupled with a tremendous expressivity; the result is music that grips the listener from beginning to end. Of particular note is the title piece, Looking for Answers, for piano trio and electronics, which is a truly blockbuster piece, and one of the best works I've ever heard that combines electronics with a traditional chamber music scoring and language.
–  Carson Cooman, Fanfare Magazine

Looking for Answers augments a standard piano trio of violin, cello, and piano with electronically manipulated sounds derived from the same instruments. The sonorities and certain stubbornly recurring intervallic structures in “Frozen Questions” seek answers with serious but nearly paralyzing determination.

In a series of inwardly spiraling thoughts, “Contemplation” interacts with and is often swept away by an electronic fog of modified piano sounds.

“Dance” shrugs its shoulders and turns its back on the quest, mixing dance rhythms from several continents and cultures. Perhaps this is the only appropriate answer.

Looking for Answers was written for the radiant Mojave Trio.