Many Happy Returns (trio)


Clarinet, violin, piano–14′

A volatile, expressive trio based on the ritornello idea.

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Many Happy Returns

Clarinet, violin, piano
1987, rev. 2021
Duration: 13′
Premiere—1988 by the Yellowstone Chamber Players, Billings, Montana.
Score and parts bundled in one 55-page pdf

Program Note

program page

1991 Performance at 92nd Street Y

The seven brief movements of Many Happy Returns are unified by a first-movement ritornello, which is played a total of four times, if one counts the finale. At first it does not change, though it is abbreviated, varied in movement V and finally transformed to D major. The remaining movements share no material and their contrast deepens with passing time, as increasingly slower music alternates with quick music. While the work is not programmatic, a curious, skittish mountain goat found its way from my summer campsite at Ousel lake in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana into the third movement.

Many Happy Returns was written in 1987 while I was teaching in Montana. Support for the work was provided by the Montana State University Billings Foundation. It was premiered by the Yellowstone Chamber Players in Billings in 1988.

bright red cover with swirling artIn its original version, Many Happy Returns was recorded for Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) by members of the Natonal Orchestral Association: Denise Hoff, clarinet; Byron Tauchi, violin; and Alison Voth, piano, a recording funded by a Recording Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It received a Discover America II Award from The Chicago Ensemble in 1995. An arrangement for clarinet, percussion and piano was premiered by the Minnesota ensemble Zeitgeist in 2008.


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