Jay Reise: Memory Refrains

TROY1004Jay Reise‘s Memory Refrains will close this Friday’s “Voice of the Wail!” concert at Penn (details here). This 2002 work, written for and premiered by the Cassatt Quartet, will be played by the Daedalus Quartet at Friday’s concert. Here is Jay’s program note on the piece:

Memory Refrains is in one movement and runs about 25 minutes. The work is structured around three “inner” pieces of contrasting moods – Capriccio, Barcarolle, and Elegy. Each is played three times (the ‘refrains’ of the title) interspersed with interludes and transitions. The work opens with the fanciful and whimsical capriccio; after almost a complete stop, the barcarole begins with its lilting rhythms. The elegy begins immediately after the close of the barcarole and is characterized by a quietly insistent accented accompaniment. The interludes and transitions develop ideas derived from these three central pieces.

Memory Refrains is dedicated to Anna Cholakian, the extraordinary founding cellist of the Cassatt Quartet, who was tragically lost to cancer in 1996. The musical letters of Anna’s name (A-A-C-B [= German H]-A-A) make up the note content of the cello solo before the final refrain of the elegy. Memory Refrains was premiered and recorded by the Cassatt Quartet in 2002 (Albany Records).