The Day Florestan Murdered Magister Raro

for clarinet, violin, cello, & piano

Merritt has a fine ear for instrumental color and know how to exploit the virtuoso resources of an ensemble as fine as this one.

-Benjamin Frandze, The San Francisco Classical Voice

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score sample

The Day Florestan Murdered Magister Raro was the winner of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble Composition Competition and received its West Coast premier by that ensemble. Florestan and Magister Raro are characters found in Schumann’s piano character pieces. Florestan is the wild, free tune that perhaps needs to be put in its place. Magister Raro, actually Schumann himself, is the wise, controlling voice that made sense of the proceedings. It does seem at times in this work as though the tunes have overtaken the good sense of the composer. The quick cuts and tiny quotes (mainly Schumann and Messiaen – the quartet’s namesake) reflect the quick-cutting, hyperactive attention spans of television, especially cartoons.