Tenement Rhapsody was composed in 2005 as a farewell to NYC, after having lived there for 17 years. The first movement, ‘Subway’, is a jagged, jazzy dance in which the instruments bicker, bump into each other and compete to be heard over one another. True to the piece’s character, the ideas came to me while jostling my way onto the subway at Union Square Station during a winter rush hour.
The second movement evokes the city on a a warm and breezy spring day. It is gently lyrical and harmonically lush.
The third movement, ‘At Play’, takes a simple repeating diatonic line and places all sorts of humorous and contrasting material over it. The spirit of this final movement was inspired by life behind my apartment door, as I watched my 14 month-old baby exploring his universe with eager eyes and the swagger of a drunken sailor.
Tenement Rhapsody was commissioned by the New York State Music Teachers Association and premiered by Bobby Mitchell and Janeke Brits.