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This suite was commissioned in 2017 by Sydney bassoonist Petrina Slaytor, who is a member of a trio of this unusual instrumentation. When hearing the group play, I was immediately stuck by the delicacy and transparency of this combination. I was reminded of Japanese woodcuts with their seeming fragility underpinned by strength and boldness, and a strong water element was also suggested. As I was swimming in the river every day as I was conceiving the suite, the title "River Pieces" came naturally. It was impossible not to escape the influence of the French impressionists, in particular that great master of "water music", Claude Debussy. The theme of the second movement is loosely based on the Langsam from the 5 Stüke im Volkston by Robert Schumann.
Commissioned by Petrina Slaytor
for Petrina Slaytor