Pantoum (2000) for violin, viola, cello, clarinet, and trombone

Duration: 8 minutes


A pantoum is a poetic form consisting of interlocking four-line stanzas. Lines 2 and 4 of the first stanza become lines 1 and 3 of the second stanza, lines 2 and 4 of the second stanza become lines 1 and 3 of the third stanza, and so on. Lines 2 and 4 of the final stanza are taken from lines 1 and 3 of the first stanza, making the entire form circular.

This piece is not based on a specific poem in pantoum form; it is a translation of the abstract poetic form into a musical form. Each line of poetry becomes a musical section, and these phrases recur in the order dictated by the pantoum. Furthermore, much of the pitch material is derived from an ordered "pantoum" set of pitch classes. The set, which is freely used in various transformations throughout the piece, was created by a two-stage "pantoum" mapping which turned an initial twelve note set into the forty-eight note set used in the piece.

Performance History

  • Speculum Musicae, April 2000: reading session at Columbia University, Allen Blustine, conductor.
  • Columbia Composers, December 2000: performance at Columbia University, Ramin Amir Arjormand, conductor.
  • Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, August 2001: performance at Le Domaine Forget, Lorraine Vaillancourt, conductor.