Triple Play

for viola, cello, and African drum

premiered 5/22/94
Cynthia Fogg, viola, Tom Flaherty, cello; Katherine Hagedorn, sogo
Bridges Hall, Pomona College
Claremont, CA

Triple Play is a response to certain rhythmic issues that have interested me for several years, and to friendship. I have long been fascinated with multiple, possibly conflicting, points of view, particularly with regards to rhythmic perception. In previous pieces I have tried to create the illusion of several different tempi, and of syncopations evolving into strong beats.Triple Play begins as a percussion piece, in that the viola and cello pitches are extremely limited, thus the ear is drawn to rhythmic and metric play. As the piece progresses, a perception of harmonic and motivic evolution moves into the foreground, but a sense of play is never far below the surface. The viola and cello parts are written out precisely, while the sogo drummer, in at least a gesture to tradition, is not asked to read a part in Western notation, but rather is encouraged either improvise or use traditional drumming patterns within some restrictions. The drummer is instructed to "bring out the dotted quarter" or "play mostly half notes," either in support of, or in opposition to, the prevailing metric stresses. The piece was written for and is dedicated to my wife Cynthia Fogg and my colleague and friend Katherine Hagedorn.


score excerpt