String Trio No. 4

David’s talents know no boundaries. He writes music for orchestra, solo piano, chamber ensembles, wind bands, dance programs, and choirs. He has also scored featured films, documentaries, short subjects, animations, and commercials. His music has been heard around the world. When not writing music, he is a painter using oils and acrylics. Check out his website:

What follows is his program note for this piece.

“For this project, commissioned by the Langroise Trio, I scoured through Norman Rockwell books looking for paintings that immediately presented musical ideas on seeing them. I initially found 8, narrowed it to 7, then to 6 for the final structure. The structure is an arch form, designed thus:

1. The first movement introduction presents a fugal theme, the material of which is used in all the movements (except the last one) as introductions, and represent little strolls, or promenades, from one painting to another, much like Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. After this introduction material, followed by a short rest, the movement proper, “No Swimming”, begins. I’ve tried to represent carefree boys swimming and having fun. Danger is sensed 3 times before the boys are caught trespassing. They run for their lives, escaping, and fading off into the distance.

2. After a short walk we come to the next painting, “Jester”. I’ve represented him and his doll-on-a-stick as being very bi-polar and slightly mad, in a humorous way.

3. Another stroll and we come to “The Horseshoe Forging Contest”. The rhythmic figure and intensity of this movement was immediately presented to me on seeing it. It gradually gets faster and faster.

4. Now we come to the other, downward side of the arch. After a short stroll we hear “Breaking Home Ties.” Of tender character, it is an opposite image to the intense nature of the previous movement.

5. Another short walk to “Two Plumbers and a Dog”. This movement is another scherzo movement, matching the humorous character of the second movement.

6. The final movement, “The Golden Rule” (Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You) starts with a short atmospheric chordal intro which has nothing to do with the variation material found in all the others. The whole movement this time is built out of the fugal subject found at the beginning of the first movement (and subsequent variation intros), summarizing the universal nature inherent in “The Rule”. The piece ends with a solo statement of the initial subject by the cello, closing the arch. We’ve arrived where we began.”

David Allan Earnest