Bayolo St. Luke’s Summer

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Composer: Bayolo, Armando, 1973-
   Country of origin: Puerto Rico; United States
Title: St. Luke's Summer for Clarinet and String Quartet
   Other titles:
   Movements: Suonare; Aria Variata (Mirrors); Shards
Year(s) composed: 2004
Publisher: New Music USA on line
Duration (in minutes): 20
Clarinet type: B-flat; A
Note: B-flat or alternative A clarinet; See comment below;

One thought on “Bayolo St. Luke’s Summer

  1. As I walked from Alfred’s the coulds slid away towards Essex and a warm afternoon
    opened up, golden and clear. (…) I nibbled the truffley bits off my strawberry ice cream. Midges hung over the puddles in columns, and the trees dripped dry. They’d be winter trees again soon. (…) Fi, my natural mother, calls this time of year “Saint Luke’s Summer.” Isn’t that beautiful? I felt good.
    –David Mitchell, from Ghostwritten (“London”)

    Written in the fall of 2004 for the clarinetist Cheryl Melfi and the Music from Greer Festival in Greer, Arizona, St. Luke’s Summer comes from a creative period which followed a long, difficult and creatively barren year in my life. The quote from David Mitchell’s first novel, Ghostwritten, which serves as an epigram to the work, reflects the mood of this piece perfectly: “I felt good.”
    Formally, St. Luke’s Summer is a rather neo-classical work, with a first movement cast in a strict sonata form, which behaves as such a movement is expected to behave (albeit with more “unusual” modulations). Unlike traditional works in a classical or neo-classical vein, however, the structural weight of St. Luke’s Summer lies in its central movement, the “Aria Variata.” The variations in this movement use the theme from which all of the work’s melodic material is derived, an idea with which I’ve been experimenting for some time now. The movement’s subtitle, “Mirrors,” is derived from the movement’s unusual (though not unprecedented) palindromic structure: the theme and first two variations, which constitute the first part of the slow movement, are interrupted by a three-part scherzo consisting of three more variations on the main theme. This, in turn, gives way once again to the slow movement in its final three variations, which are themselves modeled on the first two variations and the theme. “Aria Variata” could therefore be said to be structured as a series of concentric circles, or an aural representations of the visual effect created when two mirrors are placed facing each other.
    Where “Aria Variata” uses a clearly defined theme reflected and distorted as images reflected on infinite mirrors, “Shards” delays such a revelation by taking an extremely fragmented theme (again, derived from the “Aria” in the second movement) and slowly putting it together over the course of a long, dance-like movement. This theme is not heard until the final climax of the movement, bringing St. Luke’s Summer to a boisterous and happy end.

    –Armando Bayolo

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