The Hall of Mirrors 

Composed in: 1990
Instrumentation: Clarinet & Piano
Commissioned by: Hope Pompei Friedman
for Pacific Serenades
Premiered by: Gary Gray, clarinet
Delores Stevens, piano
Publisher: Pacific Serenades

Program Notes

The Hall of Mirrors that inspired this piece is a magical one that reflects only the truth: as you gaze into the mirrors, the reflections reveal images that come from beneath your surface. And though you may find images that are familiar, you may also see things about yourself that surprise you—aspects that you wish were not true, or things that are more positive than you would have imagined. But the one thing that all of the reflections have in common is you, and thus you cannot deny their truth.

This generating idea is reflected in the piece as follows. The material (the identity, so to speak, of the "gazer") is very consistent, everything being based on the opening idea. However, its character shifts from one movement to the next, and from one section—or one moment—to the next within each movement, creating sometimes surprising juxtapositions. Hence, though there is a striking variety of musical character, all is unified by the consistency of the material.

The piece also has an overall shape, moving from the relatively somber opening, gradually—and with further plunges in and out of deeper seriousness—to the lighthearted Scherzo, which though still a truth-telling hall of mirrors, is more like the fun house variety.

The Hall of Mirrors was commissioned by Hope Pompei Freedman for a Pacific Serenades concert in 1990. It was composed especially for Gary Gray and was premiered by Gray and pianist Delores Stevens.