Lois V Vierk
for piano/synthesizer, flute, clarinet, bassoon, viola, contrabass, and percussion
Hiking a trail to high altitudes takes you through an ever changing landscape. The dark closeness of the forest gradually gives way to increasing spaciousness. Light shimmers in as hints of the grandeur ahead draw you up the mountain. Arriving at the timberline and then at the mountain top gives you a spectacular view of the land below and the sky all around you.
This work is in two continuous sections. The first section begins with winds and strings in the mid range, playing held notes and slow glissandi. Simple grace notes are added. Little by little a dense texture is built as grace notes are transformed into ascending pentatonic scale passages in winds and strings. This is overlaid contrapuntally with a piano texture of ornate grace notes, tremolos and trills, gradually moving up over the full range of the keyboard. Cymbals roll at the climax.
The second section begins under the ringing cymbals with slow, open fifths in the lowest register of the winds and strings. The sounds are dark and languid, with many sliding tones. Very gradually more percussive sounds are added. Phrases are becoming shorter, notes are getting faster, shifting from whole notes to half notes to quarters. The piano begins a bright and rhythmic punctuation of the phrase, introducing 16th notes. The development of this rhythmic and harmonic figure gradually moves the piece to its climactic conclusion. Finally all the instruments combine to form one texture--dynamic, rhythmic, covering the entire instrumental range.
Timberline was commissioned for the Relâche Ensemble of Philadelphia by Kobrand, Inc., importer of Champagne Taittinger.
A CD recording was released on New World Records -- Lois V Vierk: Words Fail Me, New World 80766.
Recording is by the Relâche Ensemble of Philadelphia, conducted by Lloyd Shorter, from CD:
New World Records 80766 "Lois V Vierk: Words Fail Me"