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Name of Work

Mills, Richard (1949-)
Requiem Diptych for brass quintet

Presto con Fucco


May 21, 2007

Barbara Butler, Trumpet
Charles Geyer, Trumpet
Gail Williams, Horn
Michael Mulcahy, Trombone
Gene Pokorny, Tuba

MILLS-Requiem Diptych

Composed in 1997

Requiem Diptych, the first work commissioned by the Chicago Chamber Musicians, was composed in honor of the ensemble's tenth anniversary.

The first part of the piece, Presto con fuoco, is generated from a matrix of four chords—each having five notes. The music is violent, angry, and extreme in dynamics and harmonic process. Important elements are the opening trumpet calls and significant solo episodes for the trombone and tuba. The texture of this section is constructed from both the above-mentioned solo material and several other gestures—for example, the canonic interplay of the trumpets, loud outbursts in block chords, ascending patters in major and minor thirds, and recurring motive patterns. The return of the opening trumpet call marks the apex point of the movements, which then, with a final expression of energy, proceeds to a tuba cadenza.

The second part of the quintet is based on a chorale that is formed from a succession of seven triads. This is a total contrast to the angst of the previous section. A slowly evolving meditation on the chorale, with important solo material for the horn, leads to the coda, in which the trumpeters walk through the hall—to the back—their calls echoing to each other and to the instruments on the stage. This "calling music"—in which the anguished leaps of the trumpets which open the piece are transformed into a ritual of peaceful departure—is based on an aboriginal funeral ceremony. A few years ago, I spent several weeks living with aboriginal musicians and working on a piece with them. The soul of an old woman ascends in the form of a bird—calling back to the community she left behind.

Program Notes by Richard Mills

Performed May 21, 2007

Performance Audio

The audio file for this performance is unavailable at this time.