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Platytudes is a stand-alone piece that compliments a previous work, The Platypus Story, written for the same ensemble. It is a collection of short character pieces that each portray one or two different platitudes, which are introduced by a narrator. The first movement, “We’re All in This Together,” is a bold fanfare that drips with Baroque-style counterpoint, representing ideas of strength through unity in its full-bodied and tightly interwoven sections. The second movement, “Practice Makes Perfect,” is written for solo piano and whimsically presents a practice session, complete with references to common exercises for beginning piano students and “Chopsticks.” With written “wrong” notes, does practice really does lead to perfection? Most of us are still trying to find out. This movement is followed by “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade, or Good Things Come to Those Who Wait.” Scored for English horn and piano, this movement begins with a disjointed and quirky-sounding melody that is transformed into something lush and decadent by then end, complimented by flowing arpeggios in the piano, and the English horn’s natural expressivity. “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining, but All That Glitters Is Not Gold” for solo flute begins with a somber, low-range melody that builds in complexity and intensity as it climbs the flute’s register.  The tone is at once mournful and hopeful, as simple themes are contrasted against virtuosic sections.  “What Goes Up Must Come Down, and What Goes Around Comes Around” for flute and piano is a wild romp featuring dizzying motives and driving bass lines.  The sixth movement, “If It Walks Like a Duck and Quacks Like a Duck, then It Must Be a Duck,” is for solo English horn, and takes full advantage of the horn’s natural “duckiness.”  Just as a duck might be thought of as pleasant and adorably awkward, the movement’s tuneful melodies are taken through a series of unexpected modulations, interspersed with musical interpretations of tail flicks, waddling feet, and, of course, loud “quacks.”  This movement is followed by “A Bird in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush,” for flute and English horn.  Here, a simple, jaunty melody overlays a descending chromatic chord progression that is cheerful and endearing; after all, what could be cuter than a bird in one’s hand?  The eighth and final movement, “He Who Laughs Last Laughs Best,” features the full ensemble and caps the piece with lighthearted humor.  The bass line in the piano serves as our “last-laugher,” cutting through the chatter of the other instruments with the occasional “burp.” 

Duration: 20 min.

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