Commissioned for the Claremont Trio by Robert and Jane Morse for the world premiere performance October 30, 2008.
Score and parts for Piano Trio (Violin, Cello and Piano).
Common Ground employs three different repetitive techniques. The first third of the piece is a cycle of chords of expanding and contracting length, with the violin and cello trading agitated little lines. The second is a pastoral obsession over essentially one chord: light changing over a field. Here, the cello leads, and the violin and piano offer insect-like interruptions. After a metronomic interlude and a free-form interlude, the piano begins stating a ground bass -- a repetitive line around which the harmonies constantly shift. This sort of thing pops up in Purcell, where I first encountered it as a choirboy. The piece ends with a hyperactive recapitulation and is approximately nine minutes long. - Nico Muhly