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BROWSE & LISTEN

Chamber Music (Instrumental) for Strings

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Trifle (2021) | 5'

   String Quartet

Morceaux Des Noces II (2019-2021) | 14'

   String Quartet

Morceaux Des Noces (2013-2014) | 22'30"

   String Quartet

Variations (2012) | ~10' (indeterminate sections)

    String Quartet

Soupir (2009) | 5'

   Violin & String Quartet

Trio (2010) | 12'

    3 Violins

Sonata "Los Dedicatorias" (2016) | 18'30"

    Violin & Piano

Waltz-Capriccio (2010) | 8'

     Violin & Piano

Open-Air: Four Seasons in Landscapes by Ivon Hitchens (2012) | 12'

   Oboe (d. English Horn) & Violin

Sonatina (2013) | 5'

   Viola & Violoncello

Beyond the Last Thought: Third Fantasy (2021) | 7'

    Viola & Piano

Recurring Dream: Second Fantasy (2019) | 7'

     Viola & Piano

Sonata (2018) | 20'

     Viola & Piano

Fantasy (2009) | 4'30"

     Viola & Piano

Cycle (2010) | 4'30"

   Violoncello & Unpitched Percussion

Sonata (2014) | 8'30"

    Violoncello (or Bassoon) & Piano

Still quiet, quite still (2014) | 5'30"

    Violoncello & Piano

Trifle

Trifle (2021)

String Quartet: 2 violins, viola, violoncello

Total duration ca. 5' 

Single-movement work

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

This bouncy, irreverent piece began with a passage of music that I heard in a dream, only one of a handful of times I have been recalled hearing music in a dream and remembering it long enough to transcribe. The passage is memorable enough because of its simplicity, and I was intrigued to see where the cheeky few measures I could remember dreaming would take me if I fleshed it out into a full piece. With a quality of Looney Tunes-like mock-dignity, the piece pokes fun at poise using the ensemble associated with so many European “masterpieces.” If not an encore piece, per se, it is certainly a dessert piece as the title suggests: light and sweet.

MorceauxII

Morceaux des Noces II (2019-2021)

String Quartet: 2 violins, viola, violoncello

Total duration ca. 14'

Three-movement work

1. Double Portrait

2. Processional

3. Jubilation

Movements premiered:

II. on October 15, 2020 in New York, NY.

III. on September 6, 2021 in Chicago, IL.

by Christopher Lowry

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $20

Listen to recordings on SoundCloud

Performed by Holly Jenkins, Chelsea Kim, Eric D'Alessandro, and Lavena Johanson; sound by Robbie Neubauer.

Recording created by Christopher Lowry.

Recording created by Christopher Lowry.

My first Morceaux des Noces string quartet grew out of a single commission for a friend's wedding that grew into a unified, three-movement composition. This second set of Morceaux collects works for string quartet which I composed related to my two sisters' marriages. The first movement was composed to celebrate my older sister Lauren Dayton's engagement, taking her and her fiancé's names as inspiration for the main melodic content. The second movement was composed to act as the processional for Lauren's wedding, and the third movement composed to be the recessional for my younger sister Holly Dayton's wedding ceremony. Lauren's marriage took place in the fall of 2020, during the pre-vaccine period of the COVID-19 pandemic, Holly's took place the following September, shortly after vaccines became widely available. For both of these movements, I am indebted to composer/violist Christopher Lowry, whose music editing and multi-instrumental talents allowed him to create the string quartet recordings that were used during their ceremonies, playing all four parts himself. While the three collected movements act as a multi-movement string quartet, each movement could be performed as a standalone piece. 

MorceauxI

Morceaux des Noces (2013-2014)

String Quartet: 2 violins, viola, violoncello

Total duration ca. 22'30" 

Three-movement work

I. Allegretto fluente

II. Adagio semplice

III. Andante amoroso -Allegro animato

Premiered on June 18, 2013

in Cincinnati, OH

by members of the Price Hill String Quartet

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $20

Preview recordings on Spotify

Morceaux des Noces began as simply one “Morceau”, the first movement: a commission from my fellow Blair School of Music graduate Sarah Wood for her wedding in June of 2013. The title is a little obscure; I chose the French version of “wedding pieces” because my of own association with string quartet music at weddings: invariably Pachelbel’s Canon. The first movement was composed in the fall of 2012, the second, dedicated to my parents and in honor of their nearly quarter-century marriage, was composed over the change of the year, and the final movement was composed in 2013. The third movement takes its inspiration from lines of the American poet Hart Crane’s poem “For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen. ”Though it is a sidelong approach, the nod to Hart Crane is a way of dedicating this movement to one close to my own heart, Matthew McDonald, who was been my companion, inspiration, and friend for over five years. The quartet was premiered by the Price Hill String Quartet last June, one day before the first movement’s performance at Sarah Wood’s wedding, at a benefit concert with proceeds going to the organization Freedom to Marry Ohio, which advocates for marriage equality. Morceaux des Noces was revised in 2014.

nv6143-notes to loved ones -frontcover322x322.jpg

Morceaux des Noces is featured on the Navona Records CD "Notes to Loved Ones" (NV6143). Performed by Sarah Jane Thomas, Marika Suzuki, Yang Guo, and Lavena Johanson

Variations

Variations (2012)

String Quartet: 2 violins, viola, violoncello

Total duration ca. ~11' (indeterminate sections) 

Single-movement work: Theme &  8 Variations

Tema: Amoroso et sostenuto

 Var. I: Furioso

Var. II: Piacevole

 Var. III: Fugato: Allegro marziale

Var. IV: Celeste

Var. V: Cadenza: appassionata

Var. VI: Lamentoso

Var. VII: Cadenza: tragico

Var. VIII: Sostenuto e lontano

Premiered on June 18, 2013

in Cincinnati, OH

by members of the Price Hill String Quartet

Preview recordings on Spotify

This quartet was composed in the spring of 2012, following my return from an exchange program with the Royal Academy of Music in London. Rather than moving in a slow gradation of change away from the source material, each variation addresses the original theme through contrasting styles and treatments, often moving directly between polar opposites. The work was premiered at Grace Episcopal Church in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2013 by members of the Price Hill String Quartet at a benefit concert for the marriage equality group Freedom to Marry Ohio.

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $20

nv6143-notes to loved ones -frontcover322x322.jpg

Morceaux des Noces is featured on the Navona Records CD "Notes to Loved Ones" (NV6143). Performed by Sarah Jane Thomas, Marika Suzuki, Yang Guo, Lavena Johnanson

Soupir

Soupir (2009)

Solo Violin & String Quartet (2 violins, viola, and violoncello)

Total duration ca. 5' 

Single-movement work

 

Premiered on November 4, 2009

in Nashville, TN

by Eva Walsh, Rachel Schlosberg, Meredith Vaughan,

Alex Grimes, and Justin Goldsmith

Listen to a recording on YouTube

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Recording, November 4, 2009, Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music, Nashville, TN  by Eva Walsh, Rachel Schlosberg,  Meredith Vaughan, Alex Grimes, Justin Goldsmith

Originally conceived as the middle, slow movement of a chamber concerto for solo violin and string quartet, this piece takes its name from the French word 'soupir,' meaning a sigh. The work's hushed, intimate tone, speaks of a quiet and delicate emotional territory, building from a calm state to a crisis, and then relaxing back to a contented resolution. This piece is dedicated to Eva Walsh. 

Trio Violins

Trio (2010)

3 Violins

Total duration ca. 12' 

Four-movement work

I. Misterioso e poco mesto

II. Sempre tranquillo

III. Come una macchina, ma ironico

IV. Lento e lontano

Premiered on March 17, 2011

in Nashville, TN

by Caroline Hart, Jen George, and Audrey Lee

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Listen to recordings on YouTube

Video performances, October 23, 2011 at the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music, Nashville, TN by Caroline Hart, Jen George, Audrey Lee

Composed in the autumn of 2010, this work came out of a challenge to write for the idiosyncratic ensemble of 3 violins, using the 12-tone matrix system for exploring the musical material. From that challenge came this four-movement work. The first movement unfolds in a melancholy sonata-allegro form with a tempestuous development. The second movement presents a metronomic pizzicato meditation, broken only by a brief fantasy of flourishes. The third movement takes provides an acidic counterpoint to the sombre tone of the piece to this point with a Shostakovich-like mixture of mechanical rhythms, humorous pizzicato and angular gestures. The piece ends with an expressionistic movement, mixing intense dissonance and moody ruminations.

Sonata "Los Dedicatorias" (2016)

Violin & Piano

Total duration ca. 18'30" 

Four-movement work

I. Fernando y Lila

II. Vicente y Fernanda

III. Manuela y Noelle

IV. Adam y Cristina

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $20

ViolinSonata
Preview recordings on Spotify

Fernando de Szyszlo’s paintings have inspired me since 2011, generating numerous compositions and a lasting correspondence and friendship with the artist. After several years of contact with the esteemed Peruvian painter, I decided to accept the generous offer of hospitality extended to me, and I went down to Lima to visit the Szyszlo family. Over four days I met four generations of de Szyszlos, spending a substantial amount of time with each of the members of the family. The movements of this work each take as their musical material a transformation of the names of members of the Szyszlo family. The final movement melodizes the names of two people I met serendipitously through travel circumstances, with whom I had the pleasure of spending my final day exploring Lima. There are senses in which each movement reflects the character and some qualities of the people whose names I used: the seriousness of Fernando’s artwork, Vicente’s energetic nature and Fernanda’s grace, the beautiful love of Manuela for her daughter Noelle, and the lightning fast banter between Adam, Cristina, and myself. But, in a sense, all of the movements are dedicated to all of the people I met. I hope they appreciate the gift of this piece as I value the gift of their friendship.

nv6143-notes to loved ones -frontcover322x322.jpg

Sonata "Los Dedicatorias" is featured on the Navona Records CD "Notes to Loved Ones" (NV6143). Performed by Sarah Jane Thomas and Michael Sheppard.

Waltz-Capriccio (2010)

Violin & Piano

Total duration ca. 7' 

Single-movement work

Premiered in April 2010

in Nashville, TN

by Eva Walsh and Jennifer MaGuire

Waltz-Capriccio
Listen to a recording on YouTube

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Recording, April 7, 2010, Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music, Nashville, TN by Eva Walsh & Jennifer MaGuire

The Waltz-Capriccio, composed in the spring of 2010, is cast in three major sections. A dark, nebulous prologue and epilogue bookend the titular section of this work. While the piece explores an array of affects ranging from sentimental to comical to chaotic, the overall mood is one of melancholic contemplation, as the piece fades to a remote distance.

OpenAir

Open-Air: Four Seasons in Paintings by Ivon Hitchens (2012)

Oboe (d. English Horn) & Violin

Four-movement work, four interludes

I. Early Winter Walk

- Wind I -

II. Boathouse, Early Morning

- Wind II -

III. Poppies in June

- Wind III -

IV. Terwick Mill

- Wind IV -

Premiered on March 19, 2012

in Nashville, TN

by Lindsey Reymore and Caroline Hart

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Listen to recordings on YouTube

Video performances, March 19, 2012 at the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music, Nashville, TN by Lindsey Reymore and Caroline Hart

Inspired by the paintings of British landscape artist Ivon Hitchens, this duet unfolds over the course of four movements, each inspired by a painting of a different season, and each followed by an interlude (and finally a postlude) called Winds, indicating a change of seasons. This piece came together partially as the result of a collaborative project with the Royal Academy of Music. It is dedicated to the participants in this project: Shelby Flowers, David Gorton, Caroline Hart, Midori Komachi, Carly Lake, Chris Redgate, Lindsey Reymore, Michael Alec Rose, Peter Sheppard-Skærved, Michael Slayton, Ruta Vitkauskaite, and Agatha Yim. The friendship I have sustained with the son of Ivon Hitchens, John, began with this work, a friendship that has gone on to inspire large scale works including From Sombre Lands, Grounds, Symphonic Poem: From Forgotten Lands, and Grounds, Retraced. Read more about the Dayton-Hitchens story here.

Sonatina

Sonatina (2011)

Viola & Violoncello

Total duration ca. 5' 

Single-movement work

 

Premiered on July 13, 2013

in Athens, GA

by Megan Chisom Peyton and Justin Dougherty

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

The Sonatina was commissioned by Justin Dougherty to fit on a program between the cello sonatas of Sergei Rachmaninoff and Eliott Carter. Developing a motive from the piano part of the first movement of the Rachmaninoff Sonata, sprinkling the piece with gestures from the Carter, the piece is composed in a modified Sonata Allegro form. In the close interlocking of ranges and interchange of melodic lines, the Sonatina weaves an atmosphere of cautious intimacy.

Third Fantasy

Beyond the Last Thought: Third Fantasy (2021)

Viola & Piano

Total duration ca. 7' 

Single-movement work

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

This work is the second installment in a series of pieces in dialogue with one of my earliest works: my 2009 Fantasy for viola and piano. In 2019 I created a new work by substantially transforming the original piece as part of a composition conference. This “third” fantasy continues that trend, drawing upon the key melodic gestures, chord progressions, and guidepost moments of the original piece to create another new work. Specifically, the brief “diaphanous” interlude near the conclusion of the original Fantasy has become this new work’s foundation, with the original melody and the rich, jazz harmonies of the waltz section continuing to exert their obsessive influence on this series of dream-like meditations. The title is a line from Wallace Stevens’s poem Of Mere Being, whose warm, burnished-bronze images and surreal stasis seem to mirror the pervading atmosphere of this continued inward journey, exploring some of my own foundational musical ideas. The piece was composed as yet another gift in my continuing friendship and collaboration with violist Christopher Lowry. It is dedicated to Sean Leavy, a dear friend and admirer of my work, who deserves more warm, glittering things.

Second Fantasy

Recurring Dream: Second Fantasy (2019)

Viola & Piano

Total duration ca. 7' 

Single-movement work

 

First Version Premiered in April, 2019

in Wan Chai, Hong Kong

by Roberto Diaz & Bright Sheng

Revised in May, 2019

Final Version Premiered on September 14, 2019

at New Music DC 2019, at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

by Peter Dayton and Christopher Lowry

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Listen to a recording on YouTube

Recording, September 13, 2019, Catholic University of America in Washington, DC by Chris Lowry & Peter Dayton

Composed for the Intimacy of Creativity call for scores, this work is technically a ‘revision’ of my submitted composition for that opportunity: my Fantasy for Viola and Piano, composed roughly a decade earlier. The contest involves revision as part of actively engaging the composer in the collaborative creative process of workshopping. In my case, in evaluating my work for final selection, composer Bright Sheng challenged me to create a work less abruptly sectional out of some of the most memorable material from the Fantasy, essentially strip-mining that earlier work out of which to forge a new work. A fascinating challenge with a limited time-frame, Recurring Dream: Second Fantasy for Viola and Piano stands either in contradistinction to the original Fantasy or on its own. The primary melody, the waltz-like, filme noire theme, melancholy tone, and contrast of moods and colors of the original are all retained and recast in this new work – with a continuous thread running between the viola and piano parts as they travel down new musical pathways, like a dream whose elements remain the same but the order has been jumbled. Considering how many of my works are inspired by other artists, it seems somewhere between poetic justice and a logical extension of my creative practice to compose a piece inspired by my own work, from the distance of ten years. This second fantasy is dedicated to Christopher Lowry, who has sustained the life of the original Fantasy in performance over these many years.

ViolaSonata

Sonata (2018)

Viola & Piano

Total duration ca. 14'

Five movement work

I. [restless]

II. [roiling]

III. [serene and sensuous]

IV. [menacing]

V. [light]

 

Commissioned by Emma Dansak, Christopher Lowry, Casey Mullin, Thomas Scheurich, and Scott Stewart in September 2017, completed in January 2018.

Premiered on September 8, 2018

in Bellingham, WA

by Casey Mullin and Mark Davies-Early

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $20

Listen to recordings on SoundCloud

Recorded Performances by Casey Mullin & Mark Davies-Early

The viola has figured largely in my musical narrative. More accurately, people who play the viola have been among my longest-lasting friends, supporters, and musical collaborators. The commissioners of this Sonata range from recent acquaintances to friendships and collaborations that have gone back years, from all over the United States. Despite so many violists in my life (to turn a phrase by Feldman), I had only a handful of short pieces that showcased the instrument. This work gives the viola, and the players who are my friends, its due in a substantial work to match the scale of my chamber works for violin and for cello. For such an eclectic group of people, I hope that the stylistic eclecticism of this piece seems a fitting complement: something for everyone. With formally conventional framing central movements, the second and fourth movements are short, slightly brutal, cathartic thumbnail sketches that serve, by their contrast, to recontextualize the lyricism of the other parts of the piece.

 

While I have joked with a few friends (some among the commissioners) about how many viola pieces are elegiac or somber, it is a hazard of the instrument to which this piece too has fallen prey in some ways. The timbre of the viola seems so well suited for darker harmonic and emotional colors, which is not to paint a bleak picture of the piece or the viola’s expressive prospects. Tenderness, mischief, throaty joyfulness, are all also a part of this piece, part of the palette of the instrument’s (and players’) capabilities. To the commissioners, Emma Dansak, Christopher Lowry, Casey Mullin, Thomas Scheurich, and Scott Stewart, I offer this Sonata, and my deepest thanks for the pleasure of writing it.

ViolaFantasy

Fantasy (2009)

Viola & Piano

Total duration ca. 4'30

Premiered in November 2009

in Nashville, TN

by Emma Dansak & Peter Dayton

Listen to a recording on YouTube
Viola-honeysuckle.jpeg

The Fantasy was included in New Music Shelf's Anthology of New Music: Viola, Vol. 1

Recording, March 13, 2018, at Louisiana State University, in Baton Rouge, LA, by Chris Lowry & Daniel Liebeskind

The Fantasy’s name adequately expresses its formal freedom: a harmonically lush exploration of different moods, colors, meters, and tempi. New material follows new material as if in a dream, though continuity is maintained through an arcing melodic gesture that builds itself into the fabric of the Fantasy. At the end, the Fantasy slowly recedes from the audience, fading away as if we are waking unwillingly from it. 

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

nv6143-notes to loved ones -frontcover322x322.jpg

Morceaux des Noces is featured on the Navona Records CD "Notes to Loved Ones" (NV6143). Performed by Jennifer Slowick and David William Ross.

Lowry Milestones.jpg

Morceaux des Noces is featured on the Navona Records CD "Notes to Loved Ones" (CRC3808). Performed by Jennifer Slowick and David William Ross.

Cycle (2010)

Violoncello & Unpitched Percussion (Tambourine, Snare Drum Tamtam, Ratchet, Bass Drum)

Text by Walt Whitman

Total duration ca. 4'30" 

Seven-movement work

I. Introspective

II. Joyous

III. Meditative

IV. Acerbic

V. Lamenting

VI. Slow

VII. Introspective

Premiered on March 29, 2011

in Nashville, TN

by Justin Goldsmith & Kevin Rilling

CelloCycle
Listen to a recording on YouTube

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Recording, March 29, 2011, Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music, Nashville, TN by Justin Goldsmith & Kevin Rilling

A composition for Violoncello and Unpitched Percussion, composed in the Fall of 2010 as part of a collaborative effort "Cellaboration" between the Composition and Cello studios at Vanderbilt Unviersity's Blair School of Music. This was performed March 29th by Cellist Justin Goldsmith (class of '12) and Percussionist Kevin Rilling (class of '12). The violoncello is paired with different percussion instruments in a series of atomized musical statements. 'Cycle' is both a musical and a literal descriptor of this composition as the percussionist progresses through each instrument. I hope you enjoy the performance. Text taken from the 1860 edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

CelloSonata

Sonata (2014)

Violoncello (or Bassoon) & Piano

Total duration ca. 18'30" 

Four-movement work

I. [With urgency and forward motion]

II. Stark, Percussive

Premiered on July 18, 2015

in Valencia, Spain

by Mayte García Atienza and Carlos Amat of NOMOS

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Preview recordings on Spotify

This Sonata was composed as part of an interdepartmental collaboration at the Peabody Institute in the fall of 2014. A work conceived to be performed either with bassoon or violoncello and piano, this Sonata explores extremes in emotional, and registral, territory in two movements. From catty, sarcastic repartees and high anxiety in the first movement, to the tragedy and introspective melancholy of the second, the work’s tenor came from a desire to compose a piece that explored emotional boundaries that I felt were underrepresented in the bassoon’s solo repertoire. The Sonata’s emotional geography also draws from my close contact with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata, Op. 147, which I performed in the role of accompanist in 2011; work on this piece brought back not only the difficult territory of the Viola Sonata itself but some of my own terror at the time as I grappled with a piece on the edge of my proficiency as a performer. Alex Carlson and Sean Calhoun premiered the bassoon version in the spring of 2015 at the Peabody Institute. Mayte García Atienza and Carlos Amat of NOMOS presented the world premiere of the version with violoncello at the VIPA Festival in Valencia, Spain in the summer of 2015.

nv6143-notes to loved ones -frontcover322x322.jpg

"Cello Sonata" is featured on the Navona Records CD "Notes to Loved Ones" (NV6143). Performed by Lavena Johanson & Michael Sheppard.

Stillquietquitestill

Still quiet, quite still (2014)

Violoncello & Piano

Total duration ca. 5'30"

Single-movement work

Premiered on August 6, 2014

in Cincinnati, OH

by Phil Goist & Peter Dayton

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Listen to recordings on SoundCloud

Recorded Performance by Joseph Staten & Sean William Calhoun on March 6, 2016 at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Still quiet, quite still is dedicated to the cellist Ryan Mahon, whom I met at the Rocky Ridge Music Center summer program in 2013 and with whom I enjoyed a delightful correspondence for a time. The title is the combination of lines from a poem of Ryan’s and reflects something of his contemplative nature.

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