by Bruce Stark
(violin, flute and piano)
Three Dances for flute, violin and piano was commissioned in 2018 by the Friends of Today's Music program of the Music Teachers' Association of California. It was premiered at the MTAC 2018 Conference in Orange County, California.
I composed Three Dances during the summer of 2017, with the intent of offering a trio for flute, violin and piano comprised of lively, rhythmically driven outer movements and a middle movement of introspective beauty. The pieces draw from my diverse musical roots, beginning with the jazz-influenced music of Groove in which a syncopated theme is followed by each instrument taking a solo of improvisational character over the accompanying "groove." The second movement, a quiet waltz, provides meditative repose and sustained lyricism in the center of the collection. Chorale settings of J.S. Bach were the music that first drew me into the study of classical composition, and my love of siimple, hymn-like melody has stayed with me ever since. Waltz features the flute and violin in two presentations of such a theme, accompanied by a piano figure that begins in the high register, grows into a more florid pattern, then returns to its initial character as it winds down like a music box. The third movement, Jig, brings the set to an energetic and celebratory conclusion. Its Celtic and bluegrass flavor comes from another aspect of my musical upbringing: both of my grandfathers were bluegrass fiddle players, and many of the songs I heard my father sing and play on mandolin as I grew up were the Scottish and Irish tunes he cherished from his own childhood.
— Bruce Stark