Keith Kirchoff

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Program Notes


Piano Quartet


written for the California E.A.R. Unit
pn, vl, vc, cl

Duration: 9 minutes
Premier: August, 2006. Arcosanti, AZ
California E.A.R. Unit
LISTEN: California E.A.R. Unit


The Piano Quartet (2006), scored for violin, clarinet, cello, and piano, is divided into three parts. In the opening section, empty space is contrasted with unchanging stillness and utter chaos. Throughout the entire section, the clarinet plays only one single note, always held for twelve counts. Following the twelve counts is ten counts of empty space. The rest of the ensemble gradually begins to play on top of the clarinet, filling in the stillness with their chaos. As the piece progresses, they also fill in the empty space. This continual chaos eventually erupts into a clarinet cadenza (second section), which finally gives way into a five part cannon in multiple simultaneous times (third section). In other words, the pianist's right hand begins the cannon, and each subsequent voice enters at a faster tempo than the previous voices. All instruments come together by the end, and the ensemble ends on the same note that opened the piece.