Quintet "Good Times"

premiered at Whittier College, 1985
Almont Ensemble:
Al Rice, clarinet; David Stenske, violin; Cynthia Fogg, viola; Tom Flaherty, cello; Charlotte Zelka, piano

“The most ambitious undertaking was by the ensemble’s cellist, Tom Flaherty, His Quintet “Good Times” makes use of neo-classic devices, but also elements of Gershwin-style jazz and Ives-style dissonance.” [Almont Ensemble]
–Gregg Wager, Los Angeles Times


The subtitle of this Quintet, "Good Times,"refers as much to rhythm and tempo as it does to fun. In the first movement, "Dilation", the basic pulse is constantly fluctuating. Syncopatiion against a steady beat gradually emerges from the texture and assumes the role of the beat, each one slower towards the middle of the movement, where several rates of pulse remain locked in equilibrium for a time. Slow legato notes in the clarinet are challenged by the faster violin pizzicato until the piano returns to the opening tempo and material.

The second movement, "Suspension" has a slow and generally obscure pulse. The movement is basically ruminations on the opening three cello phrases, with varying instrumentation gradually leading to a full climax and restatement of the opening melody in the piano.The climax quickly dissolves and the cello ends with a fragment of its original tune.

The third movement has a fast steady pulse throughout, but the groupings of the beat are constantly changing their meaning, hence the title "Daylight Savings."

The piece was written for the Almont Ensemble and is dedicated to the Pasadena Conservatory.


Quintet "Good Times" is available on Klavier Records:

Klavier Records.