Trefoil for String Trio
About this work:
In nature a trefoil is a three-leafed clover. In architecture it is an ornament in the
shape of three overlapping leaves. In mathematics it is the first "nontrivial" knot, meaning that a knot tied in the trefoil shape cannot be untied without cutting it. The title of this composition refers first of all to the texture of three distinct, often exposed, instrumental voices. But it refers even more to the knot metaphorically tied by the music. The work is based on the separate elaboration of two very different ideas, ideas so different that each can be imagined as continuing silently while the other sounds. Yet the ideas are somehow so closely intertwined that they could not be untied without cutting them. This is not to say that they have some sort of "organic" relationship; they don't, and that is the point. Their intimacy is formed by the way they address and interrogate, yield to and overtake each other, as if each were always aware of the other as an alter ego. The same relationship obtains between the main body of the work and the strange, floating, seemingly unfinished Prelude that introduces it--the third leaf in the large trefoil of the work.
Year composed: 2011
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:String Trio