Vivian Fine





Quartet for Brass




11 ½ minutes


Two trumpets, French horn, and bass trombone


Metropolitan Brass Quartet


April 20, 1979, Union college, Schenectady, New York, Metropolitan Brass Quartet (Douglas Hedwig and Kristian Solem, trumpets, William Parker, French horn and Bruce Bonvissuto, trombone)


GunMar Music, Inc.


“Vivian Fine,” American Masters Series, CRI CD 692, Ronald Anderson and Allan Dean, trumpets, David Jolley, French horn, Lawrence Benz, bass trombone.


Variations: Poco lento, espressivo
Fanfare: Energico
Eclogue: Lento
Variations: Lively

program notes

Each of the Quartet’s four movements explores a specific idea, and the brass ensemble is heard in differing contexts. For example, in “Variations,” the first movement, Fine creates a stark intervallic texture which later becomes a retrograde and then accumulates energy by doubling its speed…The ensemble becomes more brasslike for the second movement, “Fanfare,” in which the listener hears various pairings of the instruments in a contrapuntal texture that is meticulously shaped through dynamics, attacks, and, at times, microtonal tuning. “Eclogue” is quiet and sparse with solo instrumental lines, ending with a prolonged C that is colored by changes in dynamics and mutes. The fourth movement, “Variations,” becomes more lively as the ensemble presents individual and unison lines that punctuate the rapidly changing rhythmic patterns. ...“Variations” is constantly dancing. Material is reused as canons, retrogrades, and in augmentation, but the energy never ceases, and the listener does not have time to register the compositional manipulations.

--Heidi Von Gunden, liner notes to “Vivian Fine,” CRI American Masters CD 692


“…much fresh and truly innovative material. Various unusual crescendo-glissando combinations, for instance, and an occasional quasi-pointillist usage of the brasses come as delicious surprises. This is a work that should certainly be added to the repertory of the university and professional brass ensembles emerging in such numbers these days.

–Dale Shepfer, American Record Guide, October 1982


“This is spare but by no means unlyrical music….Vivian Fine has written one of the most thoughtful and least showy of brass-ensemble pieces in her 1978 quartet, a work which manages to be as technically fascinating as it is pleasurable.”

–John Ditsky, Fanfare, 1982


“It was all striking, but Fine’s work captured my imagination. In the third movement, trumpet and trombone players took to the rear of the Greenwall Music Workshop, where they echoed and responded to the notes being played on stage. Fine drew a picture of a conversation and of distance—and then of distance bridged. It was beautiful, and very moving.”

–Wendy Severinghaus, Bennington Banner, April 20, 1987

audio files

first movement

fourth movement