Measuring Time






SKU: 25C020CM3196


Measuring Time
Composed by Barbara York
For Flute, Violin, and Piano
Published by Cimarron Music Press
Includes score, flute part, and violin part

Written for Raul Manguia and Denissa Rivas de Munguia, 2017

Notes on Measuring Time:
      While I was preparing to write this piece I also read a book by Jessie Burton, called “The Miniaturist”. From this there was a quote that I particularly like with reference to this piece. A clockmaker is talking here about his daughter, who apprenticed with him. 

      “My daughter is a great wonder for the world, Madame. But I concede she is often dismissive of the way it presents itself to her. She always said there was something beyond her reach and she called it 'the fleeting forever'. He sits at the end of the bed, his feet not touching the floor. 'If only she had been happy with clocks!' he exclaims. 'But Petronella long desired to live outside the boundaries of measured time. Always wayward, always curious. She mocked the way people clung to their timepieces, how everything had to be in order. My work was too restrictive for her, and yet the creations she put together in my workshop would barely sell. I admit – they were extraordinary, but I was loath to put my name to them and claim them as my own.
      “'Why ever not?'
      “He smiles. 'Because they didn't tell time! They measured other things – things people didn't want to be reminded of. Mortality, a broken heart. Ignorance and folly. Where numbers should have been, she painted customers' faces. She sent them messages that sprang out of the clock when the hand reached twelve. I had to beg her to stop. She said it was because she could see into their souls, their inner time, a place that paid no heed to hours and minutes. It was like trying to tame a cat.'”

      Then I talked to Raúl and Denissa, who had come to the US from Honduras several years ago. I saw them as having operated on “Honduras time” after they got here and needing to adjust to “American time”, even though the time zones were very similar. 
      The pieces is a series of sections that go back and forth between “Latin time” and “American time”, with the American time being quite marcato and even martial and strident. In the final seciton, Raúl and Denissa find a compromise between Honduran and American “time” by moving into “fast latin time”. 
      HOWEVER, if you look at the piece carefully, each section, although feeling like it is in a different tempo, is actually based on the quarter note at 120 beats per minute, which means that every second beat is actually one second. In fact, despite all the difference in feel, style and content, one could still actually measure time, like a clock, throughout the piece.

— Barbara York, 2017

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