First Performance
Community Theatre, Morristown, NJ, Colonial Symphony, Yehuda Giulad, director, 1998


David Sampson (1998)

Lament for Chamber Orchestra is a reorchestration of the second movement of Dectet, a work for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, 2 Violins, Viola, Violoncello, Double Bass and Piano written on commission for the Chicago Chamber Musicians. Events leading up to the creation of the second movement compelled me to allow this music to stand alone and hopefully give it further avenues for life.
After completing the first movement of Dectet in the middle of August, 1998, I began the second. For several days I struggled with my still born thoughts. Finally, on Friday, August 21st, I wrote down my first tentative notes and before long I was feverishly writing measure after measure. I stopped around four in the morning having completed what I later knew was most of the movement. The next day, when I studied what I had written, I was surprised to find that the movement was a traditional passacaglia with a strong sense of loss and lament. Its simple directness puzzled me.
I continued revising the movement for the next few days. The following Wednesday I received a call from a friend asking if I had heard about Alan. I said no and he proceeded to tell me that Alan Balter, conductor, clarinetist, and good friend, had died in Philadelphia on Friday night from complications after lung surgery. I was stunned not only for the terrible, wasteful loss of a dear friend but also because I realized that the second movement was so urgently created at the moment of his passing. The lament now made sense. Sadly, several months after Alan’s death, his wife, Niki, also died.
This music is in memory of Alan and Niki Balter, members of the family of musicians, and dear friends.

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