Labyrinth (1987) by Wayne Peterson
for flute, clarinet, violin, and piano
Earplay commission

Labyrinth was written for Earplay in 1986. The seeds of the piece's evolution are contained in its opening section, but what happens afterwards is a multiply-contingent journey rather than an orderly progression. Alliances form and as quickly dissolve among the instruments. The momentary gesture of an instrument temporarily in the lead can send the entire ensemble in a quite new direction—into a chaos of tiny motivic fragments, for example, or a whiff of jazz, or a thicket of two-note tremolandi. Only at the end of the piece does there emerge a lasting accord—a broad melody in rhythmic and (sometimes) pitch unison, whose momentum propels the music into its unison close.

— W. P.    

[from program for March 27, 1995 concert]