Pleiades (2005) for oboe and piano - 14'
-Commissioned by Katherine Needleman
-Premiered February 2006 at Music in the Hall, Baltimore
I. Celaeno - "the dark"
II. Taygete - "the long necked"
III. Merope - "the eloquent"
IV. Electra - "the brightly shining"
V. Maia - "the mother"
VI. Asterope - "lightening"
VII. Halcyone - "the queen who wards off evil storms"
Pleiades was written for oboist Katherine Needleman at her commission soon after she became principal oboist of the Baltimore Symphony orchestra. It was my third piece for Katherine, and I was delighted and honored to write it!
In beginning the piece, all I knew was that I wanted to have seven short movements. After a little “Googling,” I discovered the “Pleiades”: seven goddesses of Greek mythology—each with their own personalities and profiles. I realized that this was the piece, and that I could write seven short movements each describing the character of each goddess. I was especially taken with the representation of the last Pleiade, “Halcyone,” who assumes the role of “The Queen Who Wards Off the Evil Storms.” Just as I was hurriedly writing this piece, the events of Hurricane Katrina were unfolding, and the theme felt sadly kismet.