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New York Nocturnes for violin, cello and piano (2000)

Premiere, Chamber Music Northwest. 26 June 2000. Published by MMB. 25’.

Comment: My piano trio was written for the Golub/Kaplan/Carr trio. At the last minute Jeffrey Swann substituted brilliantly for the ailing David Golub. The four movements are: Restless, Le tombeau de Cole Porter, Five Spot and Gray Dawn.

Review: “David Schiff turned Kaul Auditorium into a rash and rowdy jazz club Monday. It was opening night of Chamber Music Northwest, the five-week festival of old and new classical music played by small ensembles With art Tatum solos driven by hammer chords, hailstorms of notes and mercurial syncopations, the joint was jumpin’ like a Manhattan rhapsody. Born in New York in 1945, Schiff frequently turns to the city for inspiration. He’s written straight jazz pieces and straight classical works, as well as works that blur the two. His 1987 Scenes from Adolescence offered dense textures, driving rhythms and ‘cubist’ fragments of jazz. New York Nocturnes is more direct in its allusions, not only to jazz but also to classical traditions, this time of Maurice Ravel and Erik Satie. Textures are thinner and the references more obvious and extended. It’s as if Schiff has filtered out extraneous ideas. But his signature adrenaline is still there, underscored by restless rhythms that are shamed among the piano, cello and violin. So, too, is melody. In the gorgeous last movement, gray Dawn, Schiff evokes a hazy Manhattan dawn after a night out. The pianist plays a slow Ravelian tune while the strings still the atmosphere with high, static notes. David Stabler, The Oregonian, 28 June 2000.