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Serenade is an early work composed in 1967 not long after I began graduate studies in composition at the University of Toronto. The choice of instruments; two flutes, alto flute, bass clarinet, xylophone and vibraphone was suggested by my teacher John Weinzweig. I found it to be an attractive combination to write for. The two flutes engage in dialogues while the alto flute provides a deep, sonorous extension of their timbres. The bass clarinet's impressive range of pitch and timbre is exploited. The percussion instruments colour and articulate solo wind melodies and in addition inject dynamic displays into the textures.
The three movements are contrasted in character. The first is generally slow with an occasional burst of energy. The second is even slower with colourful clusters and long melodic lines. The finale is a lively movement with sudden changes in mood and texture. Overall the work has a light hearted feeling about it in keeping with the idea of a serenade.
Serenade was first performed by the Contemporary Music Ensemble at the MacMillan Theatre, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto on 15 February 1968 and subsequently performed at a composers symposium at Bennington College, Vermont, USA on 19 March 1968.
15 Feb 1968: Performed by Contemporary Music Ensemble at MacMillan Theatre, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, in Canada
19 Mar 1968: Performed at the Composers Symposium at Bennington College, Vermont, in USA
28 Jun 1992: Performed by the Karlheinz Company; Auckland University