Duration (in minutes): 10'39;
Difficulty: Medium (college/community)
Category: mixed instrument ensemble, mixed instrument trio, small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players
Instruments: any string, any woodwind, cello, flute, percussion, vibraphone
Publisher: Subito Music Corporation
Description: “For Him” was written for my former teacher, Otto Luening, as a present for his seventy-fifth birthday. As he was a flutist, flute is one of the three instruments used. The piece is in five movements, each presenting one timbral idea. The first movement is in arch form. The work progresses from one to two to three back to two and then to a single instrument – solo cello. The cello opens with pizzicato to establish the mood. The arch is also created with dynamics, going from soft to loud to soft once more. In keeping with the arch design, the pitches at the end are a retrograde of the opening. The second, slow movement is concerned with different spacings of octaves. Octaves played by the three instruments together alternate with melodic fragments. Once again, the dynamics go from soft to loud and then, briefly, return to soft.
The third movement – fast and harsh in character – alternates dissonant chords with constantly moving sixteenths scattered throughout the instruments. Four-note chords in the vibraphone and two-note chords in double stops (cello), as well as the use of seconds within these chords, accentuate the harshness. The meter is constantly changing. The fourth movement is very soft and floating – cello and flute harmonics and vibraphone with soft (marimba) sticks. The vibraphone forms a background by picking up cello pitches. The dynamic arch goes from pianissimo to, briefly, mezzo forte, before returning to pianissimo. The fifth song alternates between longer and shorter notes – the longer notes are trills in the flute and double stops in the cello – and between combinations of two and of all three instruments. This movement is also fast, but not as angry as the third movement.