Canterbury Trio

for ATB Recorders

Prize Winner, 2003 Chicago Composition Contest

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History and Performance Notes

cover artCanterbury Trio was written for the Chicago Recorder Society's biennial Composition Contest 2003, and I broke my First-Prize streak by taking Second Prize with this.

Inspiration for this trio came from an old clarinet-ensemble lesson book. As an example of a madrigal, they had something attributed to Palestrina that begin like the Pilgrymes Fantasye before going off somewhere in another direction. I always loved that opening and could never find the madrigal. However, it always reminded me of springtime in the English countryside. I don't know why, I've never been to the English countryside, let alone at springtime. But I digress.

The Middle-English-like spellings of the movement names, as well as the title itself, was inspired by Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. That madrigal in the lesson book conjured up images of spring, which further reminded me of Chaucer and the pilgrims.

Performance notes

The Pilgrymes Fantasye must always be moving forward. Keep the contrast between the sharp pointy staccato notes and the long silky flowing notes, and play the trill in the Alto at bar 130 as theatrically as possible. Think melodrama!

Play the Lullabye "molto soporifico". It's a lullabye, not thrash metal. Keep those high notes in the Alto as sweet as can be, never strident. And it softens your hands while you do the dishes.

Keep a lookout for the fugue subject in the Myrie Jigge. It appears in disguise in a couple places, most notably split up between Alto and Tenor at bar 33 and upside-down in the Tenor at bar 71. Keep the conversation going, don't let anyone try to escape.