Howard Sandroff

Works for Ensembles

La Joie (the joy) (1996) for clarinet trio (Eb, Bb, Bass)
was commissioned by clarinetists Larry Combs, John Bruce Yeh from the CSO and Depaul University clarinet professor Julie DeRoche in the spring of 1996. "La Joie" is named for and is dedicated to my wife, soul mate and inspiration Mary Ann La Joie in celebration of our 25th Anniversary and was premiered by Mr. Combs, Yeh and Ms. DeRoche at the la Cite' Musique in July 1996 in Paris.

The musical material of "La Joie" began life as "The Bride's Complaint", a 1987 composition for soprano and computer generated electronics and is in keeping with my compositional ideal of using a single musical idea (sound object); portraying it in many versions and contexts without revealing its evolution from one state to another. Using the same compositional techniques I have used in other works, I sought to create a more lyrical expression befitting a "love song". The entire work is based upon a sound object made up of five pitches. This object is continuously manipulated to generate melodic, harmonic and timbral material.

La Joie has been recorded by Combs, DeRoche and Yeh for a 1998 CD release from Horicon Records.

Chorale for saxophone quartet (1994),
was commissioned by the Chicago Saxophone Quartet. "Chorale" is a single movement work in which I explored the extreme of my technique; using a single sound object to create a relentless "tonal" landscape. The entire work is based upon a five note object which becomes "grist for the musical mill".

"...there is a decided lack of enthusiasm at my end of the leash." (1981) for two pianos and electronic sounds on tape.

I once saw a movie, read a story or had a dream, I can't recall which, where a man entered a house and climbed a staircase. When he reached the top of the stairs, he was confronted by two doors. After a moment of indecision, he chose to open the door on the left and walked into a room.

The story then proceeded to depict scenarios, situations and characters associated with the single act of choosing the door on the left. When the first story drew to a close, we, the audience, returned to the opening scene and witnessed the same man entering the same house and climbing the same stairs. However, when he reached the top this time, he selected the door on the right. The subsequent story was made up of different scenarios and situations. The characters were the same, but always in different contexts creating different interactions and relationships.

My work, "...there is a decided lack of enthusiasm at my end of the leash." is about a particular group of pitches, first heard as a chromatic cluster built on "f". Rather than develop the material in a sonata like manner, I chose to utilize the concept of the story by treating the "sound objects" like they were the characters. That is, to take the fully developed material and manipulate it to change its context and how it interacted with other versions. The cluster is dissected and reassembled; exists as a melody, a harmony and often as a timbre. The electronic sounds were created by manipulating recorded sounds of a piano and enhancing them through the addition of electronically generated sounds, both analog and digital. In many ways the work is for TAPE and two pianos, rather than the other way around, in that the material is usually introduced by the tape and altered by the pianos.

This work was commissioned by the Music Center of the North Shore, in honor of their 50th Anniversary. The first performance took place in Winnetka, Illinois on June 7, 1981. In addition to honoring the Music Center, the work is personally dedicated to my niece, Abby Karen Koff, born November 14, 1980.

The work was recorded by pianists Abraham and Arlene Stokman and is available on Centaur Records (CRC 2082).

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