Summer of 2020
composer: Nancy Galbraith (2020)
genre: Chamber Ensemble
length: 1 movement, 10:30 minutes
orchestration: clarinet, harp, strings
publisher: Subito Music Publishing (ASCAP)
60 Depot Street, Verona, NJ 07044 • 973-857-3440

world premiere: 13 May 2023
Kassia Ensemble
Shadyside Presbyterian Church • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
program notes:

Rather than dwelling on the forboding atmosphere at the height of the pandemic scare, Galbraith choses to celebrate the fullness and beauty of summer, with all its colors, aromas, birdsongs and rustic breezes.

"Summer of 2020" opens with a lively Virginia reel, with dancing strings, spirited harp glisses, and playful, singing lines from the clarinet. The mood shifts with shimmering strings as the clarinet and harp break into a gigue. The dance suddenly gives way to a sparse landscape featuring random flecks of sound bouncing between the clarinet and harp; but the pulse persists, nearly invisible, beneath the minimalist texture.

A green field of metered 5/4 (two longs, two shorts) provides a brief moment of serene respite. Then the rhythm returns in a pastoral train ride through woodlands, meadows and farms as the harp echoes the cadence of the rails beneath. The pulse continues as the music morphs into eerie then lyrical atmospheres with muted bass pizz's quietly lurking underneath.

The mood dissolves into a relaxing scene with soothing long-tones from the strings and a heart-warming serenade from clarinet and harp. A funky groove emerges in a contrapuntal pizzicato section that gradually swells into a frenetic, whirling musical tempest to end the piece. — Martha Tablewight