Night Scenes


Violin, Cello and Piano
Commissioned by Laguna Beach Live! for the Claremont Trio
First performance: January 2010 The Claremont Trio, Laguna Beach Music Festival

Program notes: 

Night Scenes (2009) Donald Crockett

I.               Scatter the Barbarians

II.             The Blue Guitar

III.            Midnight Train

IV.            Night Hawks

            Night Scenes for piano trio is a look at the cinema in four vignettes.  The movement titles, Scatter the Barbarians, The Blue Guitar, Midnight Train and Night Hawks, are meant to evoke scenes from imaginary movies or very possibly scenes of the movie-goers themselves.  The titles are invented or found objects, not the least of which is the evocation of the famous Hopper painting.  One might say of Night Hawks that perhaps the subjects of the painting inhabit the late show in an old art-cinema house, or maybe the music underscores a scene in a movie about them.  The midnight train is evoked in an ostinato and the violin and cello sing ‘the song of the riders on the midnight train’ using fiddle-like open strings passionately.  The blue guitar accompanies sinuous lines first in the cello, then in the violin, before moving into a kind of Ivesian overlapping of chords.  Perhaps several guitarists showed up and it’s too dark or too late to play together.  Scattering the barbarians in this case requires intricate passagework and sudden noisy chords.  These are just suggestions, though, and I invite you to create your own scenes as the music unfolds.  Night Scenes was commissioned for the Claremont Trio by Laguna Beach Live! and completed in November 2009.    - Donald Crockett