Year Authored (or revised): 



fl, bscl, vln, vcl, orchestra

Duration (min): 


Composer's note:


Baton, for flute, bass clarinet,  violin, cello and orchestra, was written at the request of Christian Baldini for the U.C. Davis Symphony with four of my favorite musicians -- Tod Brody, Peter Josheff, Hrabba Atladottir, and Thalia Moore -- as soloists. It’s dedicated, with great admiration and affection, to Tod, Peter, Hrabba, and Thalia and to Christian.

The piece is in one movement  lasting around seventeen minutes. After an opening section in which the four soloists play together with orchestral punctuation and commentary, each of the soloists has their turn in this order – violin, bass clarinet, cello, and flute. It’s as if they’re in a relay race – one player passing the baton to the next. Following the flute solo section, all four soloists play together again in a more sustained dialogue with the orchestra.

Each soloist has its own specific character (or characters) and these are established at the beginning of the piece. The flute tends to be calm and unruffled. It’s the flute who teaches some of the players of the orchestra to be soloists and encourages them to come forward. Later, during its solo turn, the flute weathers some brutal onslaughts from the brass and percussion. Calmness and reason prevail eventually though, and the flute coaxes the other three soloists to re-emerge so that the piece may proceed to its quiet conclusion.

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