“Shelter” is a work of sensuous intensities and melancholic moods that coalesces out of a seemingly relaxed and ordinary environment.
I. Stomping Ground
Shelter’s first movement is influenced by old Jewish dance music that gradually increases in tempo until it reaches a frenzied culmination. The movement begins with a serious and expansive bassoon solo, punctuated by strings and echoed by English horn with a modified melody. The feverish force of the piece draws the listener ineluctably in. After attaining a whirlwind culmination, the first movement ends with a brief recapitulation of the initial theme and a final slow “olé”.
Note to players: Avoid the feeling of pushing the piece forward by playing on the back end of beats of increasing tempo. Also, tempo changes should not occur all at once at measure downbeats, instead starting within measures to progress toward downbeats.
II. Resting Place
The second movement starts in four waves of increasing length: beginning with only the first player, restarting with the first and second players, and so on, until all four players are playing. Then, the players echo their final wave more quickly with discordant embellishments. Next, polyrhythmic strings accompany a gradually descending bassoon solo that pauses dramatically before reaching its nadir. Following brief Arabian polyrhythmic flourishes, including a lush cello solo reminiscent of the prior bassoon solo yet synchonized with viola, the movement settles into a wide open sound texture created by hypnotic woodwind pulses. The cello addes some soulful caresses, repeated with viola harmony, to create a morbid landscape. The woodwinds come to a polyrhythmic forefront until the strings join them playing the previous hypnotic woodwind motif. The strings intensify their polyrhythms, eventually joined by bassoon and a soaring English horn. The woodwinds subside and the strings again play intense polyrhythms until the piece unwinds in four waves of decreasing length, losing one player each wave until the final tone.
Note to players: Make an effort to hold notes for full duration and to follow tempo and dynamic markings to convey the fully hypnotic effect of this piece.