Rule of Three

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Rule of Three page 1.jpg
Rule of Three web cover.jpg
Rule of Three inner page.jpg
Rule of Three page 1.jpg

Rule of Three

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Rule of Three (2015) for 2 violins and viola – 16'
–Commissioned by Music from Angel Fire
–Premiered at Music from Angel Fire by Bella Hristova, Ida Kavafian, and Steven Tenenbom

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Program Notes 

There are some basics in art that I keep coming back to–little bits of conventional wisdom that a teacher passes on to a student that over time makes an impression. That passing down of knowledge first inspired this piece “Rule of Three,” both in my own studies and in the three extraordinary musicians I had the privilege to write it for, Bella Hristova* and her two teachers Ida Kavafian and Steve Tenenbom.

The “Rule of Three” is an idea probably as old as counting, itself. The Rule takes many forms (it’s a cornerstone of joke telling, for instance…) but in music I think of it as presenting an idea, establishing it on the second go around, and then making it again–but the third time a little different. Really in the simplest way, so much of composing music (or writing a story) is about creating expectation and then fulfilling or denying it. The “Rule of Three” explores all of that.

There aren’t a lot of pieces for two violins and viola–the one I think of the most is Dvorak’s “Terzetta.” But the music that I thought of that inspired this piece was Corelli’s body of trio sonatas. And so I’ve woven the great Italian master’s music throughout these short movements, or miniatures as a kind of writing prompt. The concept of the Rule was well known to Baroque composers, and their principles and virtuosic instrumental writing spoke to me here, and into the music of the piece.

*my wife