About this Piece
One way of thinking about the “possibilities” of the title, is as ways to define or obscure “C.” The fast and fizzy opening movement, for example, begins with a mad rush to C major and it ends with the major sevenths C and B pounded out at the ends of the keyboard. The spacious second possibility flows from C to C, over a sustained drone
in the cello. The fleet rhythmic games of the third movement define “C” by opposi- tion, launched from the tritone F-sharp and ending in whispered A major, with its C-sharp. The aggressive fourth movement
begins similarly, from unison F-sharps, which expand into clusters, and then “C” gets
the same treatment. The final reverie finds its way to blissed-out C major, though the clarinet keeps the matter in doubt until the very end.
Another way of looking at the “possibili- ties” is as variations, possible expressions of intervallic ideas and shapes. These varia- tions seem to be in search for a “theme,” which they find finally at the end, in the soft lyric musings of the clarinet and cello.
Or maybe these are just five possibilities for sonorous beauty and textural variety from these instruments, five miniatures of distinctive character; contrasts and con- nections are both clearly audible. “Five Possibilities is in five short movements that each follow their own logic, creating fleeting images or glimpses of larger worlds,” the composer writes.
Five Possibilities was commissioned by Trio Ariadne, which gave the premiere in 2014.
— John Henken