Commissioned and premiered by Max Lifchitz and North/South Consonance. Dedicated to Max.
My Sinfonietta was composed in 2010 upon commission from Max Lifschitz and North/South Consonance, an artist and collective whose recordings and activities I have been following since I was a teenager, especially those of Latin American composers, an obsession of mine for many years. In fact, a North/South concert was the first performance I attended after moving to New York in the 90s. It was an honor to compose a new work for this ensemble.
In three relatively short movements and scored for wind and string quintets (somewhat similar to my recent Mandolin Concerto), the Sinfonietta gets underway with a movement titled Treadmill, a short, lively motive repeating loudly, and which further gets truncated into its most elemental building block, an accented sixteenth note followed by an eighth note. Solos and moments of virtuosity mark the movement as the block more or less disintegrates. The movement ends rather conventionally as if in relief. Titled El Efecto Deseado, the second movement is concerned more about sonority and instrumental blend. Set off by a cautious tempo, the desired effect peaks at the midpoint of the movement and retreats to the chords of the start at a soft dynamic. High-wire, the third movement, begins with a fragmented set of triplets thrown across all ten instruments, when a more reflective section gives way to a purposeful 7/8 statement, followed by a brief and veiled quote from Planos, a thrilling work by Silvestre Revueltas. The opening triplet material returns and whips quickly up and down the ensemble before settling into a section of entirely different character, bi-tonal and littered with accompanimental sextuplets. The piece ends emphatically. The Orchestra Pardubice, led by maestro Marek Stilec, gave the European premiere in 2016 in the Czech Republic.