Benjamin Williams

The Eve of Autumn (2007)

The Eve of Autumn was completed the week when summer turned to fall in 2007. As I was driving through rural Ohio with my wife on the way to pick pumpkins for carving we were struck by the colors of the changing leaves, the brightness of the clear sky, and the crispness of the fresh air. The moods created in the music I had made seemed to closely match our experiences that cool fall day, and so the title emerged as we delighted in welcoming the autumnal season.

When I first set out to compose for piano trio—long before autumn was anywhere in sight—I was reminded of the great chamber literature of the Classical and Romantic eras. Typical of the traditional piano trio genre, I cast this piece in four movements. The first movement in particular is reminiscent of these earlier eras while featuring harmonic and melodic twists ushering in the jazzier styles of the subsequent movements. A theme and variations in the second movement provided an opportunity to explore different means of interweaving the instruments. Appropriately titled, the third movement exhibits the 'dry' sounds of the piano and pizzicato strings in a light dance. The piece ends with a bold and angular movement with frequent and rapidly changing themes, just as the autumn season—in fits and starts—makes way for winter.

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