Sara Kirkland Snider ~ Composer of Music

Chamber Ensemble

Thread and Fray

for bass clarinet, viola, and marimba.

Commissioned by: Aspen Contemporary Ensemble.
World Premiere: July 13, 2006 by the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble at Aspen Music Festival, Aspen, CO.

Recording by: Sara Budde, clarinet, Beth Meyers, viola, and Alex Lipowski, percussion.

Program Notes:
Thread and Fray, a trio for bass clarinet, marimba, and viola, was written in 2006 for the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. The piece weaves a unison melody through an increasingly fragmented musical landscape, occasionally splintering into subsidiary streams of thought. When I wrote Thread and Fray, I was listening to a lot of music by Louis Andriessen, an influence you can hear in the choice of instrumentation, the use of close canonic writing, and in certain aspects of the phrasing. The melodic material comes from a horizontal exploration of stacked major and minor sixth intervals, a harmonic world I’ve been preoccupied with since “discovering” it for myself in a string quartet I wrote in 2002.


“…Thread and Fray, a tautly constructed and poignant work, interweaves short motives with a sensitive intimacy.”

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, January 17, 2011

“…angular and gracefully expansive…”

–Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, April 1, 2009

“We had a European premiere of Thread And Fray, by the American Sarah Kirkland Snider, and this (for viola, bass clarinet and marimba) was the gem among the rest, with a real melody set against dancing, repetitive accompanying patterns and with a warm, tonal-style harmonic basis. Let’s hope there will be more where that lovely miniature came from.”

The Manchester Evening News November 22, 2007

“A highlight was Thread and Fray, Sarah Kirkland Snider’s lyrical trio for viola, bass clarinet and marimba, good music that could have gone on longer.”

–George Grella, The Big City, April 3, 2009 (MATA Festival 2009)


3 Responses to “Thread and Fray”

  1. Jeremy says:

    I love the softness, warmth and complexity of this — the combination of instruments is brilliant.

  2. Jeremy says:

    This really has become one of my favourite songs — I seem to want to put it in every playlist, and everyone I’ve shared it with loves it too. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Sarah says:

    Thanks so much for your comments, Jeremy! I’m delighted.

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