Four Virtues


Composer: Christopher Goldston
Series: Ensemble Series
Instrumentation: Oboe, Violin, Piano (flute can be substituted for oboe)
Level: Intermediate
Key: F# minor, G minor, G Major
Time Signature: mostly 4/4
Style/Character: Assertive, Pensive, Lyrical, Spirited
License Information: Single User License.  This work is licensed for use by one ensemble only.
Page Count: Piano Score 17, Oboe Part 4, Violin Part 5, Total Music 26,  Total Page Count 32
Printing Suggestion: Tabloid (11×17), Folded, Stapled.  Score pp. 1-20, Oboe Part pp. 21-24, Violin Part pp. 25-32
Released: 2022
Additional Info: 
Each year, the Chicago Architecture Center hosts Open House Chicago, an event where many monumental buildings throughout the city open their doors to the public for a weekend in October. After visiting one particular site, I visited a gift shop featuring the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and I purchased a magnet inscribed with Wright’s “organic commandments,” four virtues that guided his work. These virtues are love, sincerity, courage, and decision. I thought exploring my own set of virtues would work well as a premise for the work.

What is a virtue? An ideal? Or, as a friend suggested, the lens that guides one’s actions? It seems that all cultures, religions, and philosophers have their own set of virtues. For the four movements of this trio, I picked four virtues that are important to me: Strength (of character), Empathy (for others), and Peace and Joy (within oneself).

While this trio is written for oboe, violin, and piano, flute could be substituted for oboe. I have taken great care to keep this a student work by limiting the range and level while still striving to create an attractive composition for younger players. Each movement is meant to flow into the next without a break in performance; however, each of the movements could be performed as a stand-alone piece.

Thank you to the Music Teachers National Association and Ann Witherspoon, chair of the Commissioned Composer program, for asking me to contribute to this project. Also thank you to friends and colleagues who offered feedback during the development of the piece, especially Keiko Asakawa-Golden and Alison Tatum. Lastly, thank you to University of Missouri faculty Julie Rosenfeld (violin), Janice Wenger (piano), and Dan Willett (oboe) for the premiere of my composition at the 2022 MTNA National Conference.

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