The Trio (1983) for flute, viola, and piano was written as a finale to a concert of new chamber music works I presented in March of 1983. The other two premieres on that concert were the Viola Sonata (1982) and Short Set (1982) for flute and piano.
The work is one of the few traditional four-movement works I have written. I wrote the whole concert as a single design. The Viola Sonata has three sonata-like movements, and Short Set has three ABA song-like movements. The Trio is a combination of the two, with the outer two movements being sonata-like and the inner two movements being song-like. The first two movements are played attacca, and the last two movements are also played attacca, so the work is quite symmetrical.
The work has a festival or reunion feel to it. The first movement is the arrival stage, as the peace and quiet is disturbed by the arrival of the guests. My father’s family was very large and would stage family reunions every Thanksgiving at the local Grange Hall in Woodland, Washington, where upwards of a hundred people would gather. The two inner movements are episodes, and the last movement is the finale which for us was Thanksgiving dinner. I have several relatives whom I still only know from these events.
The first movement is titled Ingathering, which leads directly into the second movement, Waiting for the Sunrise.
The third movement is a quirky Scherzo, which keeps alternating between 2/4 and 3/4, and is followed by a hard-driving Finale.