Most of my compositions have been inspired by Italy, my motherland, in particular from old folk tunes from my native town of Jesi. In this composition, I decided to embrace America as my new source of inspiration.
A brief introduction, in which all the thematic material is presented, opens the first movement with a rhythmic driving sonata form. The first theme is exciting and energetic, based on a meter of five and seven eighths, whereas the second theme is more lyrical and cantabile. As the movement unfolds, both themes are superimposed in an intricate contrapuntal combination. Toward the end of the movement, a “tonal” chorale is presented as a bizarre surprise. The same chorale will reappear in the other two movements.
The main feature of the second movement is the grace note. Even though the rhythm is apparently clear, the grace note in the three different instruments will blur the sense of the downbeat. The movement is melodically very intense. The double stop of the string instruments creates a dramatic effect at the high point toward the end of the movement.
The last movement was written while I was teaching a class in 18th Century Counterpoint at Stanford University. I explained many times the importance of counterpoint in modern composition to the point that I had to prove it to myself. The final fugue is very strict in the exposition and in the middle entrances of the subject. Yet, some of the episodes are rather loose almost like improvisations.