Faye-Ellen Silverman

Paula's Song

Year: 1996

Duration (in minutes): 9'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players, string ensemble, string quartet

Instruments: any string, cello, viola, violin

Publisher: Subito Music Corporation

Description: “Paula’s Song” describes a life journey. There are two alternating formal ideas. The first is a melody that unwinds over the course of the composition, beginning each time on the pitch C. Each appearance centers on a range an octave higher than the last, as if to continue the last interrupted thought. It begins in the lowest octave of the cello. Its second appearance has viola and cello playing in unison. Its third appearance has all four strings in unison. The final appearance is cello alone, but supported by the other three strings. In a sense, this represents my mother starting alone and ending with a husband and two children as support..
Between the statements of the melody are episodes, each one shorter than the last, as the journey accelerates in time and increases the subdivisions of the beat. Each of these has its own material, and plays on variation principles to form the section. In addition, the second grows out of the first and has a one -measure anticipation of the third. Thus the episodes are independent but not entirely unlinked. All three episodes are preceded by “transitional” phrases. In the first transition, the viola joins the cello in a contrapuntal melody – enriching the cello. The second transition consists of pizzicato material derived from the first. The pizzicato becomes the accompaniment to the main material of the episode. The third transition consists of a phrase in which the unison breaks away into four independent parts. The work is dedicated to my mother.

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