Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, percussion (1 player), piano
Duration: ca. 3’30”
Commission: New York Choreographic Institute
Premiere: 5 November 2010, Miller Theatre (New York)
An Inflorescence was commissioned by the New York Choreographic Institute in celebration of its tenth anniversary. The work was intended as a surprise for a dear mentor, colleague, and friend, Pia Gilbert. It is dedicated to Pia with love and admiration, and much awe and appreciation for all she has done for the world of “Music and Dance” in her long and illustrious career as musician and educator.
Composed for seven players (playing a flute, a clarinet, a trio of strings, a small battery of percussion, and a piano), An Inflorescence is a short work lasting no more than three minutes, thirty seconds. It opens with a trochaic four-note motto that musicalizes the dedicatee’s name (“PI-a GIL-bert”). This brief tune is heard, in constantly varied versions, throughout the piece’s 105 measures. Overall, the work begins in near stasis, slowly gaining momentum, and ending in a burst of color and energy.
The title of the work refers to a particular type of flower that is, in fact, a cluster of flowers, often having the appearance of a single entity. The Flowering Dogwood, ubiquitous on the East Coast, is one example of a plant that produces these kinds of flowers. It also happens to have been in bloom around the time of the composition of this work, and in that sense served as a near-constant reminder of Pia.
At its premiere, in November 2010 at the Miller Theatre in New York, An Inflorescence was choreographed by three brilliant dance-makers (Larry Keigwin, Alexei Ratmansky, and Christopher Wheeldon), and performed thrice by the magnificent American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME).