This work was written to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Columbus Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota. The Greek letters, sigma, alpha, and iota, represent the nineteenth, first, and ninth letters of the Greek alphabet. With alpha as A on the piano keyboard, the other letters become B and E. A-B and A-E form the intervals of a second and a fifth respectively, quite appropriate for a twenty-fifth anniversary. The three notes led to the idea of a three-part work with each note becoming a tonal center.
In keeping with the commemorative aspects of an anniversary the composer labeled the sections, “Celebrate the Present,”Remember the Past,” and “Anticipate the Future.” To create a tie with the past, the composer received permission from Jayne Latiolais to incorporate two melodic fragments from her vocal chamber work, Salome, which was commissioned for the tenth anniversary of SAI. These two fragments are involved in the transitions into and out of the section, “Remember the Past.”
By taking the three notes, flatting and sharping each one, the composer developed a nine-note synthetic scale which serves as the underlying framework. In the section on the past she chose five of the nine notes for a five-note scale. The section on the future is based on six of the nine notes.
The work opens with a type of fanfare with a tonal center of A. The main theme of the first section is announced by the violin and cello two octaves apart against a quiet ostinato pattern in the piano which uses the rhythm of the fanfare. The strings then take the ostinato pattern while the piano plays the main theme four octaves apart. Tremolos in the strings and scale passages in the piano modulate to C (B#) for a slower section in which the violin follows the synthetic scale in undulating rhythms against a quiet accompaniment in the cello and piano. The main theme and tempo return, this time with the violin and cello playing in unison.
As descending scales in the strings begin the modulation to the tonal center of E, the first melodic fragment from Jayne Latiolais’ Salome is interjected by the piano. The strings reply with the second melodic fragment in canon.
The “Remember the Past” section, marked Molto meno mosso, begins with a series of eight quiet chords in the piano which continue in ostinato fashion. The cello enters with an espressivo theme which is answered by the violin. The themes are heard in canon as the piano arpeggiates the chords. The section fades away with one last whisper of the second melodic fragment from Salome.
A brief duet in harmonics by the violin and cello leads to the piano’s fiery opening of “Anticipate the Future,” marked Con fuoco with a tonal center of B. The theme is repeated pizzicato in the cello and violin. A sudden return of the opening fanfare begins the Coda. Very brief reprises of the three themes are heard, but again the fanfare interrupts. Tremolo double stops in the violin and cello against rising scales in the piano lead to a final dissonant fortissimo chord.