Draught of Passion (2001) · 10.5 min

for violin, horn and piano

violin, horn, piano

Written for the Ensemble EnCor

Program Note

Draught of Passion was, in its first incarnation, the first movement of a larger work for classical guitar and electronic sounds titled Unquiet Sky. A work commissioned by Northeastern guitarist Robert Ward, and invited for performance by composer/guitarist Apostolos Paraskevas at the International Guitar Congress/Festival in Corfu, Greece, during July, 1999.

I met Janis Lieberman, hornist, when we both played with the Sacramento Philharmonic (I’m a violist) in 1997. At that time, Janis spoke often of the chamber group that she directed, the Ensemble EnCor, consisting of violin, horn and piano. She invited me to write a piece as a companion to the great Brahms horn trio of the same instrumentation.

Despite my move to Boston in 1998, having accepted a position as assistant professor of music at Northeastern University, Janis would consistently remind me of my promise to write a work for her group. I am extremely thankful for her patience and persistence, it’s nice to have someone really interested in playing your music. When she mentioned that the Ensemble EnCor was planning an East Coast tour, this was just the push I needed to finish Draught of Passion.

I believe that this composition is typical of the music that I have been writing over the last few years, its main characteristic being that the meters of the work often shift between basic pulses of a quarter note, and of a dotted eighth-note.

The harmonies of this composition are not complex. My hope is that the incorporation of a variety of stylistic references (none to drastic) presented in short moments placed side by side can serve to keep the interest of the listener. For me, the most interesting moments occur when rhythmic unisons are “strummed” revealing its guitaristic ancestry, and in its last statement, with the low open strings of the guitar resonating in the left-hand of the piano. 

     – Anthony Paul De Ritis

Draught of Passion was written for the Ensemble EnCor: Janis Lieberman, horn; Laurien Jones, violin; Rebecca Bogart, piano. The work was premiered at the Class of 1959 Chapel at Harvard University on January 15, 2002; and was reprised at Northeastern University on January 16, 2002.

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