These two quintets, composed six years apart in the 1980s, each respond to their commissioners' practical needs. Early in 1987 when flutist Marya Martin, cofounder of the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, approached me about a piece for herself and her four colleagues--violinists Ida and Ani Kavafian, cellist Fred Sherry, and pianist André-Michel Schub--specifying that it last from 20 to 25 minutes, I was intrigued by the unprecedented mixture of instruments. When Marya added that an auspicious premiere would take place in Bridgehampton during July of 1988, with three more performances the following March at the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society in New
York, the intrigue turned to ambition. I composed the 22-minute, five-movement work, in New York and Nantucket, between July and December 1987, and called it Bright Music.
ReviewsThe ''Fandango'' is eccentric in a way that only Rorem could have imagined”it is intended, of all things, to evoke ''a rat in an ashcan'', which it does with a crazy mazurka in the middle. The fourth movement, ''Another Dream'' shows Rorem as a true melodist somehow liberated when not tied to texts. The performers respond well to grateful writing, but the recording is close enough to include breaths from the players, especially at the more demanding moments. - Gramophone