Fray (2016/2020) by Laurie San Martin
for violin, viola, and cello
World premiere; Earplay commission

in three movements

Last spring, while listening to Terrie, Ellen and Thalia read through undergraduate compositions, I felt a pang of nostalgia. I had worked closely with these three musicians while co-directing the Empyrean Ensemble from 2001-2009. So when Ellen approached me a few weeks later about writing a piece for Earplay, I was delighted for the opportunity. I even had old sketches that I had created in years past for a playful piece that would juxtapose three distinct personalities. These past few months turned out to be a challenging time for getting any kind of work done, including writing music. I stole some time away from my internet browser, however, and gradually pieced together this project. It turned into something much darker and more amorphous than what I had intended. Fray is in three brief movements. Without giving too much away, I would say that that this piece is about exploring disparate moments, sounds, and ideas, and investigating what direction these fragmentary shreds of music might take. Many of the loose ends from the first two movements come together in the last movement. However, not everything is resolved. There is a sense of the stitching being left loose at the end of the piece.

— L. S. M.    

[from program for February 10, 2020 concert]