Full Circle (2001) by Martha Callison Horst
for flute, clarinet, violin, and cello
World premiere; Earplay commission

I have always been interested in the influence of gender on music composition. Both movements of Full Circle are modeled after compositions by women composers. The juxtaposition of different musical characters in the first movement is inspired by Ruth Crawford Seeger's String Quartet. The active polyrhythmic canonical structure of the second movement is modeled after Atlas by Mededith Monk, which I performed with the composer during the American Mavericks Festival in 2000.

The first movement begins with two radically different musical characters; the strings are fast and agitated and the woodwinds are extremely slow and mournful. Over the course of this movement, traits of the different musical characters begin to infect their opposite. The climax of the movement features a role reversal; the strings play static background trills and the woodwinds play the agitated sextuplet figure from the strings.

The second movement is a 4-voice crab canon. The musical material is rather cellular. I was interested in creating different polyrhythms through imitation of simple phrases. As the title suggests, the coda of this piece features a return of music from the climax of the first movement.

— M. C. H.    

[from program for May 21, 2001 concert]