The trio Night Window was commissioned by Dean-Emmerson-Dean and first performed in a series of concerts in Brisbane, Sidney and regional centres immediately prior to recording. As the title suggests, this work deals with states of mind after dark, that proportion of our lives so often associated with vulnerability, fears and insecurities. The trio opens with a hushed pair of cadenzas for bass clarinet and viola, introducing the principal motivic and harmonic material. The central variation movement acts as a set of dream sequences, or more correctly different versions of the same dream, all being related to the chorale with which this section opens. They progress from serenity, through passages of increasing nervousness and tension, to an elegy that grows further in energy and passion. Forming a framework on either side of these variations are two thematically related, vigorously rhythmic fast sections. In stark contrast to the variations these are full of an extrovert, almost jazz-like character suggesting that night is also a time of movement and dance.
© Brett Dean
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer
"... a real tour-de-force in terms of instrumental scoring. Depicting human thoughts and behaviour at night time, the music surveyed a vast array of techniques and textures, as well as contrasts of moods ranging from sombre and reflective to hyperactive and wild... a substantial and interesting work." (Anthony Ritchie, chambermusic.co.nz, 29 Jul 2005)
"Night Window, which is influenced by a painting by Dean’s wife and deals with states of mind after dark. It is an atmospheric piece skilfully scored and cleverly constructed which opens with wonderfully dark bass clarinet lines paired with dense viola writing, the piano is edgy and with often staccato sounds. It has a jazz and a thirties feel to some of the writing and is reminiscent of impressionistic French works of Milhaud and others such as the jazzy Martinu pieces of the time. It also brings to mind some of the great jazz wind soloists but all in a distinctive original package." (Garth Wilshere, chambermusic.co.nz, 17 Aug 2005)