Recent studies suggest that we have evolved to function best socially in groups of no more than 150 people. We tend to stay in regular contact with just a few individuals within these ‘villages’, and cope poorly with much larger crowds. This put me in mind of the limited number of people I stay in touch with frequently, and how my life experience transforms with each contact.
This notion first arose as I pondered how to design a composition without any of the usual landmarks. How could the music remain coherent without the recognisable boundaries of “movements”, without a central stockpile of major themes, and without the formative principle of exposition, development and recapitulation?
What emerged is a village of ideas, cast as twelve independent episodes that explore unique combinations of small musical thoughts that are related but not identical, and which evolve organically within each episode, and as the episodes bounce off each other. A network of musical interconnections develops, spanning the whole work, that parallels the webs of relationships that make up the ‘villages’ of our lives. Although the architecture is intentionally loose, the episodes relax in energy and tempo near the middle of the work, and intensify towards the end.
© Carl Vine, October 2013The Village piano trio was commissioned for Musica Viva Australia by Julian Burnside AO QC, in honour of Carl Vine’s sixtieth birthday. It was first performed by the Sitkovetsky Trio at the Harold Lobb Concert Hall in Newcastle, Australia, on 20th March 2014.