Helps’ Quintet is an important and dense work for the historically-charged Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire formation, composed for the New York-based Da Capo Chamber Players. The work presents a difficult and relentless side of Helps’ personality in its three linked movements, effectively requiring an experienced and flexible group effort. Yet, that said, the work radiates the pleasure Helps the composer-as-performer experienced while making music with others. Helps truly adored chamber music and successfully avoided stooping to the odious and bossy task of “coaching” other musicians — a fault of many ‘chamber music’ composers.
The Quintet was commissioned by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Duration: 12 minutes
I — Moving
II — Relentlessly (without inflection)
III — Lento e legato