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...a circle around the sun... (2000)

for Piano Trio

violin, cello and piano
Commissioned for the Amelia Trio by The Children's Memorial Foundation of Children's Hospital, Chicago, in honor of George D. Kennedy
Premiered by the Amelia Trio at a private party in Folsom, California, 4 November 2001
Duration: 4 minutes

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...a circle around the sun... runs from 4:44-5:36

Program Note

...a circle around the sun... for piano trio was commissioned by The Children's Memorial Foundation in honor of George D. Kennedy for the Amelia Piano Trio.  The work was given a private performance at a party celebrating Mr. Kennedy in thanks for his generous contributions to and support of the Children's Hospital in Chicago.

My favorite moment in any piece of music is the moment of maximum risk and striving.  Whether the venture is tiny or large, loud or soft, fragile or strong, passionate, erratic, ordinary or eccentric...!  Maybe another way to say this is the moment of exquisite humanity and raw soul.  All art that I cherish has an element of love and recklessness and desperation.  I like music that is alive and jumps off the page and out of the instrument as if something big is at stake.

This work's title refers to Mr. Kennedy.  He gives energy to children in need, like a circle around the sun, giving strength and warmth.  The music starts with a G (G for George) when, slowly, orbits of sonorous and fragile notes unfold and spiral outward creating a gracious and vibrant resonance.  After 60 seconds, the piece burst forth with a good deal of energy, like a sun-flare or like children scattering on a playground in all directions and later returns briefly to the opening materials on the pitch G.

Moon Jig for piano trio can be programmed with ...a circle around the sun... for piano trio. The two works can be played independently or in either order.

—Augusta Read Thomas

Selected Reviews

Gary Higginson, Review: Augusta Read Thomas - Chamber & Piano Works (Nimbus NI 6261)
" its amazingly compact five minutes, with its two connected movements, it manages a tight ternary structure proliferating from a repeated G. It gathers pace in a pointillistic and humorous manner with a sort of tense and brittle energy. Scored for piano trio it comes out as unique and dynamic."

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