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Rocking Chair Serenade (2013)

for string orchestra

Robert Carl

Commissioned by and dedicated to The Wintergreen Music Festival, and its director,
Larry Alan Smith, as part of my 2013 composer residency
Instrumentation:
String Orchestra:
Violin I
Violin 2
Viola
Violoncello
Contrabass
[Contrabass should have C extension or be 5-string]
Suggested numbers: 5-5-4-4-1, or multiples thereof.
Duration: c. 13'
Descriptive note:
For all my life I've been in a rocking chair at some time during the day. It's an eccentricity,
I know (I recently realized that every room in my house--except the bathrooms!--has one).
It probably comes from the fact of my mother rocking me as a child, and also something deep
in the DNA of my Southern roots.
When I was invited to Wintergreen and we agreed on a new work, I realized it was time
for me to celebrate this essential part of my life. And so the Rocking Chair Serenade emerged.
I hope its spirit comes in part from evenings spent with my parents and maternal grandparents
on a porch in Alabama, watching the dusk fall on Lookout Mountain. And as I wrote it I
imagined similar scenes in the Blue Ridge.
The piece is a theme with six variations. Each (but the last) is in turn divided into two
sections, which I think of inhalation/exhalation, or a rocker's oscillation. (The variations
themselves also alternate between more abstract and lyrical/tuneful). As the piece nears its end,
I indulge in a little self-quotation, using a melody from a 1987 piece for a singing pianist,
Warm Waxing Wail, that I've always thought had a similar front porch quality.
Of course there are moments of some intensity and flights of abstract fancy in the work,
but then I often find myself dreaming off into strange realms while rocking
Robert Carl

Rocking Chair Serenade (2013)


for string orchestra
(q) (Spacious, leisurely, "breathing" on each note)
..
..

..
b ..
b ..
(simile)
F
P
PF p

Theme
Violin I

& 44

Violin II

& 44

Viola

'Cello

Contrabass

B 44 b ..
P F p
? 44

? 44

Poco Rit.
8
Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

&

..

& ..
P
..
&
P
? ..
?

A Tempo

..

p PF
..

p p P
..
B ..

&

..

(simile)

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b ..

(simile)

..
P
..

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(simile)
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p P (simile)
..
b

b ..
P
b ..

..
p
..

&

b w-

b ..

46 b w
pbw
64

b ..
p
b ..

3
.

P
p
3

. ? 44
p
44

Nw
46

..

46 w

..
44

P
44 ..
P
..
44

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F
& 46 P

46

&
P

46

R. Carl

Nw
6
4

..

46

46

. 44
p
. 44

. 44
p
. 4
4

44

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

(q)
..

Poco Rit.

4 ..
&4
P
& 44 ..
P
4 ..
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P
? 44 ..
P
?4
4

16
Vln. I

"Pre-Variation"

P F
3 b

....

..

(simile)

3
#

b ..

b
3

....
b b ....
p P (simile)

b ..

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b
3

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p

p P

3
b

b ..

p
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b b
3

46

&

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46

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6
4

Variation 1a
Poco Rit.

b .
.
b 3 p
(loco)
3
b b
n

6
J
&4
p
3
w
6
B4
b .

? 46 w 3 .

44 b ..

? 46

44 b ..

w
6
&4

23
Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

A Tempo

U 7
4 .

bw
p

(uni)
44 NN
74 .

b b w

n.
...
b

U 7
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4
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45
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w
& 45
F
5 w
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F

5
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4

28
Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

? 45

Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

p
7
4
p

#.

b.

& 46 b .
p

.
6 b
b.
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& 4 . .
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33

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n.

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46
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f
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6
4

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64 ..
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4
4

44

.
p

45

p
.

F P

4
4

44 w

.
p

b b ..

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P

74
7
4

Variation 1b

5
4

44

N. b.
P
b.

bw
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45 w
w
5
4
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54 .

74

7
4

74

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n
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46
6
4
46

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p
b.

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6
4

N.
p

46

b
p P
b

p
b
P p

&

40
Vln. I (solo)

Vln. II (solo)

Vla. (solo)

Vlc. (solo)

Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

&

&

?
&

J
&
Pp

b
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pF P

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?
b

# # ..
p

n n ..

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p P p

.
p

.
p

b.

.
p

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b b

Variation 2a

b
w
P
.

46

Poco Rit.

(return to tutti)

n.

#
p

b.
64 b .
p

#
64 N
46

46

n.

(return to tutti)

6 w
b

4
J

b
w
j
6

- (sempre Div.)
(Div.)
.
.
46
.
.

p

46

.
.
p

(q)
44

44

44

(return to tutti)
(return to tutti
next measure)

44
#

44

4
4
- -
44

- 4
4
44

47
Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

&
& # - # -

B # #
-- -
?

55
Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

&

#w

- # - - # - # - #
-

(con sord.)

# - # # - # #w

P
w
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F P
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#
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p

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(Div.)

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(uni)

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p

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P
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n.

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P

w

.
p
F P
P
w

b.

- # - # -

cresc.


- -

cresc.

F
b -

# -


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#
p

63
Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

& .

& # B # -

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

? .
?

70
Vln. I

n -

&
&

.
#w
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P
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# - # - b

bw

p
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-

f
N - # #
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- - -decresc. poco a poco

b &n

w
p

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decresc. poco a poco

b b b n n # #
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p
n - # -

b - b - b -

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pn

#w

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P- #

w
P

b - b #
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f F
- - b

b.
F

F
N b b
F

- #

F
- N - # -

b - b -

b -
--

#w

b
& - ?

Variation 2b

p
.

- p

- -

# n
- p-

# n
- - -

Nw

.

P

Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

&

& - -

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

#
.
- -

- #
-

.
-

# - -

*)
~~~~~~~~~~~
w

&

P p
~~*)# ~~~
#
&
3

- -3
#

Variation 3a

& # # # #
- - - - - - - - - -
? .
w
.

b n
p

?
w
w
w

w
w
w

p
86

Vln. I

78

# - -

93

Vln. I

&

Vln. II

&

Vla.

Vlc.

&

Cb.

P
~~~~~~~~~
.
p

#
F

# - -

# #

(uni)

b
J

# - .

# - .

p
3
3
3
3
3
# - - - - - # - . - # - - - - - J J
p
P
p
P p

w
w

(senza sord.)

n.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
5
3

.
#
.
b

P
p

p
P 3 p
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
3
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~3 ~~~~~~~
~~~~~ # ~~~~~
.
# . (G#)
n
.

#w
w
J
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p

P
3
3
3
3
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#

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J J JJ

J J

P p
& .
#.
#.
#

#.
#
w
P
F
f
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P
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B #.

N
.
#

w
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?
p

*) All trills are a 1/2 step above indicated note;


exception is a whole step above, always indicated by pitch in parens)
3

(uni)
- -

~~~~~~~~~~
w (F#)

~~~~~~~~~# . # 3 # ( )

J
.
F P
F
p
P3
F
P ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
p
3 ~~~~~~~~
3
3
3
~~~~~~~~~
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.
(A) .
# w~~~~ (B) w (D)
#
w
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P
P
p
P p
# w
N.

.
& #.

p
P p
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P p
P
#
#

.
?
#

#
#
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& #.
.
&
J
P
F
f
P
P
F P p
F
.

w
#.

#
#

&
#w

F
P
f
F
F
N w~~~~~~~
# n # . # . # # ~~~~~
.
3

8
Variation 3b
102
Vln. I (solo)

Vln. II (solo)

Vla. (solo)

Vlc. (solo)

Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

(q)

&

&

# > .

>

F
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~
n

#.

&
p

P
~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~
.

# ~~~~~~~~
.(D#)
. J

&

p
3

#
#

&
p
F P
#.

& #
P
f
F
& w
f

#.
F

#
f
>
#w

.
.

F
w

# >

#
P
>
#

P # f
# >

P # f
# > .
j
#
P f

w>

f
w

#. P
p
#
. J
p P
w

(con sord.)

(con sord.)

J
#.
p
P
w~~~~~~~~~~~
(G)
# ~~~~~~~~
.

(con sord.)

#
p
#

3
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~

(A) .
w (F#)

n.

# .

9
109
Vln. I (solo)

Vln. II (solo)

Vla. (solo)

Vlc. (solo)

Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

& J
&

n.

P
w

B w
?
&

p
.

p
~~~~~~~~~~~
w

&

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
.
.

&


3
#w

&

n.

&

#
p
#
p

j b

.

. j w

#.

J
#
f
#

Variation 4a

#
b
P

w
w

# w
P
f
#
#

J #. #
nw
J
#
# # w
f
P
#
j ? # w
#

&
#.
P
f
#

&

.
P

p
p
p
p
~~~ ~~
#. .

nw

bw

#w
Nw
~~~~~
(F#)
J

n.
3 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~
.

n.
#
# .

(q)

Rit.
(tutti sub mp)

10

45 w

115
Vln. I (solo)

Vln. II (solo)

Vla. (solo)

Vlc. (solo)

&w

45 .

&w

& ww
P
?w

45 ww
54 w

(senza sord.)

Vln. I

&

(senza sord.)

Vln. II

&

(senza sord.)

Vla.

&

Vlc.

?w

Cb.

44

44

44

44

(to tutti)

n.
(to tutti)

n.
(to tutti)
n.

(to tutti)
n.

45

44

3
3
3
3
3
54
4

j4
j# j j j


(gently rocking)
P
3
3
3
#
(Div.)
54 3
44

J J J J
# p
P
54 (non-divisi)
ww
P
45 w
P

(non-divisi)

44
P
44
wP

3
j# j j j jb j j # j

pP

wpP

N N

wpP

# b

11
Poco Rit.
120
Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

&

B
?

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

wP

5
4
-

N -

?
-

4
4

.
N - .

45
-

b.
.

5
4 w
p P
3

3
3
3
3

#3 3 3 3

3
5
J J J J 4 J J J J J
p
P
F
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
j j # j j 45 j # j j 3 j 3 j


P
p
F
5

4
4
44
4
4

44

45

44

4
4

5
4

4
4

3
3
3
3

3
3
b

#
# b # 3 3 3
J J J J J J J
J J J J J

b #
# 3 3

J
J J J J
&4 J J J
F
P3
P
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3

3 j

j
j
j

j
j

j
j
j

j
j
j
j

j
j

b
b

n j j j j j
& 44 n

124

Vln. II

j 44

3

3
3

j
j

j
j
j
j

j
j
& 4 j 44

Variation 4b
Vln. I

5
4

A Tempo

B 44 .
? 44 w
wp
? 44
wp

b
P
P

..

n.

#
P
P

ww
P

wP

12

Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3

3 # 3 3 3 3 # 3 3 3
#
#
# 3 3
129

J 3 J 4

J
J
&
4
4
J J
J J J
J J
J J J J
J J J J

3
3
3
3
3
b j j 3 j 3 j j 3 j 3 jb j 3 j 3 jb 3 4 3 3 3 j 3 j 3 b 3 3 jb 3 j
&
4 J 4 j j j j
j
b

3 .
4
b . ..
B

4
4

.
.

p
n.

-
-3
?

b
44

43

F
p
P
3
?
3
4

4
4

p
P
F

Variation 5a

134
Vln. I (solo)

&

Vln. II (solo)

&

Vln. I

3 # 3 3 3

& J J J J

3
3
3
j
j
& b # n J j
3

Vln. II

Vla.

(eq) (q) (suddenly free, unpulsed)


.
b .
b
w
b.

p
cresc.
p

.
#

.
n

b b 3 b . b J
b

p
F
f F
f
3 # 3 3 w

J J J

3
3
3
j# j j w

..

n.

b .
141 b
J
&
P
b
b.
&
F

Vln. I (solo)

Vln. II (solo)

Vla. (solo)

Vlc. (solo)

Vln. I (solo)

& 74

Vln. II (solo)

7
&4

146

Vla. (solo)

Vlc. (solo)

()
.


J
P

f
n
& 74
F
? 7 j .
4

Vln. II (solo)

Vla. (solo)

Vlc. (solo)

&

b. .
f

bw

bw
p

b. b.
f

N. #.

? .

n.

b
p

P
3
b # J
F

n - .

smf

3 b 3 3 #
b

b
P

f
b - -

P
.

&

74
74

F
4 .
N J
#

4 P F P F P
f
#

b J
F

46

74

p
P

74

Variation 5b

P
F
.

.
#

J
& #
P F PFP
F
#
#
3 .
#

J &
B
P

b
.
.
b
J
F

b b b 5
b. b .
b b n
J
J
P
F
3
b
.
b b
b

b
P
F
P
3

#
44 w
J
P
F
bw

4
#
4
J
f
P
f
F
#. .

.
44 w

149
Vln. I (solo)

p
.

b.

13

P
3 # - . N J J
F

6 b 4
P
64 b 6
4 P

3 N

b . J J

- .

3 - J
J

3
-

# - . J J

44
4
4
44
4
4

14

Rit.

4
&4
F
4 & 4 #
F
B 44 b
F
?4
4 F

153
Vln. I (solo)

Vln. II (solo)

Vla. (solo)

Vlc. (solo)

U-

- #

f
-
# - N
fU
- #
N
U-

f
U
# - #
f

(q)
w.
46
sub p
w.
6
4
sub p
w.
46
sub p
6 w.
4
sub p

Vln. I

& 44

46 .

Vln. II

& 44

46

Vla.

B 44

Vlc.

? 44
? 44

Cb.

Variation 6

44
4
4
44

(q)
.
45
5
4
45

4 w
4

44 #

46

6
4

46

6
4

(to tutti)

n.

(to tutti)

n.

(to tutti)
n.

5 .
4

(to tutti)
n.

54 .
P
45
w

44

46

44

46

44

45

46

44

45

45

46

w
p

w
p

46
46
46
46

15

6
&4

158
Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

? 46

Cb.

? 46

& 46

163
Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

#w
6
&4
B 46

w.

? 46 w
w.
p

p
P

bw

P
F

w
w-

P
w
p
w.

- - . w .
J 49

wp P
.
.

(sempre div.)

b - ..
#

w.
- - .
J

& 46
ww6
B4

? 46

94 #
P
-.
w
w
.
49

49 w .
P

49

46
46
46
46
46

n.

b
P

P
w.

# .

p P
.

w
p

b
p

16

168
Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

&
&

P.
B w.
p
? .
?

w.

&

Vln. II

&

Cb.

b wwB
? w
?

- .

3
- #
J

w
w
P
.
P

p
.
p

w.

(uni)

Vln. I

Vlc.

.
-

172

Vla.

P
N

#
w
b w

- .

- j

p
w-

bw

w.
p

Rit.

- b

p
#

P
.
P

P
b

w.

b w-

(Div.)

b
p

w
b w-

w.

# - .
J
b

..

#.

w.

w .
(w ..)
p
N

(harmonic:solo)

(uni)

w.

17

A Tempo
177
Vln. I

Vln. II

Vla.

Vlc.

Cb.

&
&
B

#
w-

- . .
J

? w
?

Rit.

.
p
w.

N.

#.

w.

w.

n.

(q)
U
w.

w.

w.

w.

(Div. a 2)

b b # ...

(non-div.)

..
.
.

U
w.

n.

U
w.

n.

n.

n.

ww ..
ww ..
w.
w.

Hartford, 3/16-6/12/13

n.