Mind's Fear / Heart's Delight (1998) by Barbara White
for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion
West Coast premiere

The mind's fear, the heart's delight was commissioned by the New York New Music Ensemble. The work is comprised of five sharply contrasting sections, each of which corresponds to a different affect; these are periodically interrupted, sometimes at the most inopportune moments, by an intransigent refrain played in "unison" by the piano and percussion. Specifically, following the opening statement of the refrain, an edgy, quirky passage gives way to a rapturous duet between the flute and violin. The refrain interrupts and ushers in a despondent, slow-moving section, characterized by extremely long, low tones in the cello. The bass clarinet's growing impatience leads to a raging, shrieking solo, and finally, after the refrain's "last gasp," a tentative peace is attained. The title is a slightly bastardized quotation from Garrett Hongo's poem, Eruption: Pu'u O'o, which aptly describes the music's conflicting expressive characters. Fear/delight was begun at the MacDowell Colony in the summer of 1997 and was completed in December of that year; I am grateful to the MacDowell Colony for their support.

— B. W.    

[from program for November 12, 2007 concert]