Gradone, James Pierce
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Hearing Vvices is a four-movement instrumental work for clarinet, violin, cello and piano. The title is a reference to both the formal structure and surface features of the music. Structurally, the piece resembles a rhetorical struggle between two distinct musical personalities: the serious and the light. In each movement and across movements, this juxtaposition is evident through sudden changes in tempo, mood, and musical character. In terms of surface features, the trajectory of the piece is best described as the eventual emergence of melody from a dense web of counterpoint and rhythm where, over the course of the movements, small melodic fragments are presented and quickly swallowed up by the surrounding texture. This changes in the final movement, where three of the four instruments join in a soaring melody over a troubled accompaniment, thus illustrating the apotheosis of the preceding musical struggle.