for piano trio

Written: 2015
Duration: ca. 21'
Instrumentation: piano trio
Commissioned by the Claremont Trio and Rick Teller
World PremiereClaremont TrioIsabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA, November 15, 2015.
PublisherBill Holab Music

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Moon Trio is the sister piece for another trio I wrote called Sun Trio. Each of the four movements is inspired by the moon. The first movement, Moonbeams, consists of bright, cascading arpeggios that interact and overlap, creating playful rhythmic interactions between the three instruments. The second movement, Lunatic Asylum, is a highly rhythmic, mixed-meter scherzo that capitalizes on extreme ranges and timbral effects. The third movement, Blue Moon, is slow, hazy and dreamlike, and is built on long held chords and lush melodies in the violin and cello. The last movement, Moon Trip, is like taking a trip on a rocket ship. It begins explosively, contains an etherial middle section, and ends solidly as the trio finally lands on solid ground.

Moon Trio was commissioned by the Claremont Trio and Rick Teller.

Press Quotes

...diverse in character, ranging from the dreamlike (‘Moonbeams’ and ‘Blue Moon’) to the explosive (the concluding ‘Moon Trip’); Paterson’s sense of humour comes through in the scherzo, ‘Lunatic Asylum’, placed second.
— Guy Rickards, Gramophone
“Moonbeams” has a playful interaction between the three instruments that is bright and lively, mysterious, and often shimmering. There seems to be a fair amount of humor in “Lunatic Asylum,” a piece that avoids going over the top, but just barely. The themes are constantly changing in mood and style, which makes the piece very memorable and fun to listen to - a favorite. “Blue Moon” is more dreamlike with elements of mystery and drama. “Moon Trip” is a musical ride on a rocket ship from lift-off to finding solid ground. More ambient than melodic, it’s a fascinating excursion.
— Kathy Parsons,
...the music is substantive and interesting. In “Moon Trip,” Paterson’s score is more of a free-form fantasia than some of the preceding movements, and the mood projected, once we get beyond the rocket launch, remind one of those pictures we’ve all seen of Earth from outer space—the calm blue ball slowly spinning on its axis. This is a powerful image.
— Lynn René Bayley, The Art Music Lounge
Paterson is no stranger to visual imagery (we premiered a video from his risqué opera “Three Way” last year). All four short movements of “Moon Trio,” also quite a new piece, were inspired by the moon, evoking glints of moonlight through the trees, ethereal yet kinetic pastoral scenes, an explosive rocket journey, and a lively and entertaining if rather innocuous sort of lunacy. The first movement suggested cascading moonbeams with a Mozartian finesse, while the especially moving third movement, “Blue Moon,” felt like it could be a soundtrack to a staging of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
— Jon Sobel, Blogcritics successfully atmospheric and resonates with vibrant color...gorgeous...and a beautiful balance of the three instruments you don’t often find...
— Juliana Hall, Composer