Pq2 ... (2014) for piano and string quartet

Thomas Oboe Lee

About this work:

Program notes.


I met Lila Brown a year ago when she and members of the Boston Conservatory faculty performed my “Octet in D, opus 144” (2012) at Seully Hall.  Lila told me she had a summer festival in Salem, NY, and wondered if I would like to write a piece for her.  I said sure.  Just as in Hollywood, you never say no.   At first Lila asked me if I would like to write a companion piece for Anton Webern’s Saxophone Quartet.  I said sure!!!  One thing led another and somehow I ended up agreeing to write a piano quintet for her.  In the meanwhile Lila contacted Delores Stevens, artistic director of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Festival, and asked her if she would also premiere the work at her festival. Delores did a little research on me and my music online and she said yes.  So, here we are.  Siamo d’accordo.


I wrote my “first" piano quintet in 1988 for the Apple Hill Chamber Players.  That was not the usual quintet of a piano and string quartet.  The Schubert “Trout” quintet was my model: piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass.  I titled that work, “Piano Quintet … apple strudel” (1988).  At that time I was a huge fan of the Entenmann’s Apple Strudel.  I imagined the piano being encased/surrounded by the four string instruments.  


My first “real “ piano quintet was written for the Formosa Quartet and pianist Tammy Lum.  They premiered the work at Nyack College during the spring of 1988.  My current piano quintet (no. 2) is titled “Pq2 …” (2014).  It is a work in five movements.


I. Moderato … Trio

II. Adagio …

III. Tsiaj 1 … Allegro

IV. Tsiaj 2 … Prestissimo!  

V. Adagio


What’s tsiaj?   I got this from Charles E. Ives.  The title of the middle movement of his Piano Trio is “TSIAJ.”  It’s an acronym of “This Scherzo is a joke.”



Year composed: 2014
Duration: 00:17:00
Ensemble type: Unknown:unknown 1
Instrumentation: 1 Piano, 2 Violin, 1 Viola, 1 Cello

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