Duration (in minutes): 8'39;
Difficulty: High (professional)
Category: small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players, solo instrument with piano, solo woodwind with piano
Instruments: any woodwind, flute, piano
Publisher: Subito Music Corporation
The word "xenium" comes from the Greek "xenia", which means "a gift to a guest". It was conceived as a work for a guest performer (my friend Howie LeShaw) for a concert, which, due to changing circumstances, never occurred. As this guest performer also specialized in klezmer and jazz music, specific references to these occur within the work. "Xenium" is in four short movements, centering around the tonality of D. This central tonality is hinted at in the beginning of the first movement, is stated in the middle section of the second movement, and is the prevailing key of the last movement. Other movements circle around D, emphasizing C or E.
The first movement takes off from the chords of the opening measure. When the flute enters, it begins by improvising on the restated opening chords. The chordal melody contains an augmented second, a tribute to the klezmer music played, in other circumstances, by the "guest" performer. The second movement is in ABA form with the outer sections using triplets and the middle section using a melodic idea with a hint of jazz -- a second tribute to the "guest". The third movement relates to the first in its use of slow tempo and its opening chordal texture. The opening chord uses the pitches A and E, pitches also found within the first chord of the first movement. The last movement is fast and dance-like -- meant to show off the technical abilities of the guest. The end of the movement refers back to the opening of the work.