Playground Ensemble | Ethan Boxley: Annees de Debut

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Ethan Boxley: Annees de Debut

by Playground Ensemble

Années de Début features eight original pieces combining rich, contrapuntal textures and devices of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with modern melodic idioms, creating music that is as engaging and listenable as it is highly complex.
Genre: Classical: New Music Ensemble
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Character Suite (Quartet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon)
11:49 $0.99
2. From Water (String Quartet)
12:02 $0.99
3. Crisis in the Hallway (Quartet for Flute, Clarinet, Cello and Piano)
5:27 $0.99
4. Trichotomy (Rondo for Strings and Flute)
4:58 $0.99
5. Lunacy (Quintet for Double Bass and String Quartet)
6:39 $0.99
6. Introspection (Quintet for English Horn and String Quartet)
6:06 $0.99
7. Wedding Processional / Recessional (Sonata and Fugue for Double Bass and String Quartet)
9:01 $0.99
8. For Sofya (Theme and Variations for Solo Violin)
9:14 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Up-and-coming classical composer Ethan Boxley makes a confident first appearance on the classical music scene with the release of his album, Années de Début. The CD features a collection of eight original pieces composed by Ethan, including string, wind, and piano quartets, as well as his oboe quintet, Introspection, and a sparkling set of variations for solo violin. In his compositional works, Ethan explains his aim of “combining the rich, contrapuntal textures and devices of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with the clear, memorable melodic idiom of today’s film music, in order to create music that is as engaging and listenable as it is highly complex.”

The album’s first piece, Character Suite for woodwind quartet, is a playful effort to bring musical life to characters conceived in the course of the composer’s attempts at writing short stories. Throughout its twelve minutes of often very polyphonic music, reassuringly modal harmonies characterize the piece, and colorful melodic lines act as a compliment to lively instrumental interplay.

The second piece, a string quartet (‘From Water’), seizes the listener’s interest with music inspired by experience of Colorado’s rivers and lakes. From its subdued, scintillating second movement to the rushing ferocity of its fugal finale, the quartet is marked by profound, flowing melodic lines, supported by subtly interwoven counterpoint and set alongside a diverse series of musical textures.

The piano quartet, Crisis in the Hallway, is a musical reflection on the regrettably common crushes and crises of high school life. The piece consists of smooth and playful opening and closing sections (including contrapuntal flirtation between the flute and clarinet answered with forceful interjections from a jealous cello), both tempered by a contemplative, chant like middle section.

Written in the traditional rondo (ABACA) form firmly in the tonal arena of G, this short and earnest piece for flute and string quartet looks in on an attempt of the reconciliation of two simple, memorable, and distinctly opposing themes by a third theme, itself accompanied by an ancient and equally memorable hymn tune.

The string quintet, Lunacy, represents a second and more refined foray into character music. The adventurous six and half-minute work begins with a compelling fugal section and introduces three whimsical themes, tightly interwoven with one another and the fugue subject. All of these are first made to waltz together, and finally combined at the ending in a frantic triple fugue.

Written as farewell to the both the friends and trials of high school, the English horn quintet ‘Introspection ‘ aims to use striking musical contrasts of texture, tempo, and mode, along with subtle harmonic nuance, to capture the mixed, often bittersweet feelings arising in response to high-school graduation.

The second string quintet is a heartfelt expression written in the form of a sonata and fugue, and based firmly in the warm, elaborate language of the baroque style. Written with the dignified joy of a wedding procession in mind, the piece’s tone and length make it ideally suited to accompany such events.

The series of eight works concludes with a set of variations for solo violin, whose final variation isn’t above finishing out the album with what the composer would describe as a ‘good old fashioned fiddle-tune,’ because--why not?



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