Six Bagatelles for String Trio, performed by The Concordia String Trio

Frederic Bednarz (violin), Leslie Perna (viola), Darry Dolezal (cello)
Andrew List’s Six Bagatelles for String Trio was one of the most striking works I’ve heard by a young composer in many years. Remembering George Crumb’s beautiful overtone filigree in Voice of the Whale, I was struck by List’s use of a similar technique in his Bagatelles, but he did no stop at one level of scrutiny of his overtone material. A one-dimensional presentation of that material would render it mere effect, decoration. List let that material be effect and decoration momentarily, offering the benefits of effect and decoration their due, as we don’t scorn sumptuous decorations and wonderful effects; but he probed, examined and developed that material in various surprising and always interesting ways and at various speeds. By taking us through this development, he demonstrated that what is offered at first as sumptuous may prove in the end to be both sumptuous and portentous. And so, as much as we are true hedonists and epicureans, we find ourselves, nevertheless, after the work is all over, no longer mere hedonists, but remade, malleable, and awaiting further growth and transformation. The piece should be performed often and recorded so we may get to know it still better.