Op. 8 – Five Brief Encounters


  • Composed: 1984
  • Time: 5 minutes

This is one of my two compositions which utilize the 12-tone system (the other being Pseudonym, op. 6). It was written, among other reasons, to show people that I could still write such music. Each very short piece is written in 2-part form, like a modern Scarlatti sonata. There is internal symmetry within each piece, as the second half is based on the retrograde of the row used in the first half. The central movement uses the unmodified tone row. The 2nd and 4th use a 24-note row derived from the row, and the 1st and 3rd use another 24-note row derived, with larger intervals, from the row.

The sequence of the five movements follows a strict mirror pattern. The first piece begins ponderously in the low register; the 5th ends breathlessly at the top of the keyboard. The 2nd and 4th deal with ostinati.