Eyerly on Chamber Music

"What attracts and terrifies me about chamber music is, there's no place to hide. Each note must prove itself - there's no 'filler.' Though I'm better known for theater, vocal and orchestral music, every new phase of my development has started with a chamber piece. I find seedlings there, you might say, to plant in other music." Scott Eyerly 

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for clarinet and piano  
Duration 18 minutes.  

From the program note: "A composition in one movement has always intrigued me. Like a statue hewn from a single block of marble, or an opera played in a continuous act, it gains strength from being a seamless whole. Source contains separate movements, but they're joined in a one-movement form.  

That form is unusual. Imagine if you will the movements of a traditional Classical symphony: Allegro, Adagio, Scherzo and Allegro. Now picture them (fancifully) as four blocks of ice, placed top to bottom in a bowl. The "Adagio" melts..." 

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The Palm at the End  
for wind quintet and piano  
Duration 24 minutes.  

From the program note: "Walking in the southern California desert early one morning, I was struck by the image of a lone, distant palm tree, backlit by the rising sun. It seemed to symbolize a beautiful but remote goal, and brought to mind Wallace Stevens' poem 'Of Mere Being' with its opening line 'The palm at the end of the mind...'  

The sextet is in three movements. After an introduction (marked sostenuto) suggested by my desert walk, the first movement is brisk. The lyrical middle movement begins with winds alone, then the piano enters (marked magico), its music conceived while the sky turned purple at the edges and a shower sped across the desert. The third movement, written back in New York, is 'winter music' inspired by a driving snow storm. Near the end, the overarching 'palm' theme is heard - or glimpsed - one last time..." 

Birch Music 
for wind quintet  
Duration 28 minutes.  

From the program note: "Ambling through the woods in Wisconsin one day, I became aware of a 'call': two notes, falling by the interval of a minor third. Only later did I realize the obvious, that it literally was a birdcall. But it inspired my quintet's opening: each instrument enters with the two notes (starting on the exact same pitch, A 440) and this motive runs through the first movement like a vine.  

Movement two leaves the forest world. A Theme and Variations, it begins in droll bassoon. The final movement returns to nature, launched again by the 'call.' A new, jazzy theme takes over. Improbably, it grew out of the notes made by a creaking door in my studio! Still more improbably, this theme is transformed into a Lutheran-style chorale..." 

Storm King 
for brass octet  
(3 trumpets, 2 horns, 2 tenor trombones, tuba)  
Duration 20 minutes. Revised 2016. This piece was originally titled SINFONIA.  

From the program note: "A towering tree inspired the opening theme. I searched for a motive which would begin and pervade the composition. It came to me at last, a bold, declamatory theme, as I stood awestruck by the power and grandeur of a huge cottonwood...  

The lazy melody of movement two was suggested by a visit to Montgomery Place mansion in New York's Hudson Valley. I imagined an elegant turn-of-the-century world, its linen perhaps wrinkled in the summer heat...  

Movement three begins with a Chorale, which leads directly to the Finale, Storm King, so named after another Hudson Valley locale. This movement sprang from a titanic thunderstorm I witnessed, huddled in an old house as windows blew out and trees split..." 

Three Cameos  
for solo cello  
Duration 12 minutes.  

Three movements for cello unaccompanied: 1) enigmatic, 2) lyrical, and 3) motoric.