Telephone Book (Yellow Pages, Blue Pages, and White Pages)
Title: Telephone Book
Heading: for fl, cl, vln, vlc, and pno.
Movement Titles: These two new movements, "The Blue Pages" and "The White Pages" added to "The Yellow Pages", makes up the complete Telephone Book
1. The Yellow Pages
2. The Blue Pages
3. The white Pages
9 September 1995
Milwaukee Art Museum
Instrumentation: flute (doubling piccolo), clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), violin, 'cello, and piano
Duration: complete: 18'
Recording: Telephone Book can be found on the release, six
...a vigorous, tidy romp...with a bright kaleidoscopic jangle that was Torke's own. —Washington Post
The two new movements, "The Blue Pages" and "The White Pages," which also feature the same technique of 'static transposition,' are also well characterized and sustained. —Gramophone
The Yellow Pages was composed while I was a student at Yale, in the spring of 1985. I had just finished my first large piece, Ecstatic Orange, and I chose more open, diatonic harmonies as a kind of relief from the denser chords I had just used. My decision to write for two winds, two strings, and piano came from the belief that it would be a practical combination, and that I would be more likely to get performances in the future.
Ten years later, in 1995, when Present Music offered a commission to expand these musical ideas into a three-movement composition, I jumped at the opportunity. Given that the Yellow Pages are generally accompanied by the White Pages (for residential listings) and the Blue Pages (for government listings), it seemed natural to use these two other sections as models for additional movements.
Referring to the alphabetical listings found in these familiar directories, I devised a kind of musical equivalency: bars of music repeat, but I continually introduce new key signatures. The result (going through the complete cycle of fifths, but not transposing anything) is the feeling of much activity over gradual change, much like the way alphabetical order works. (It takes 133 pages of "A" entries to get to the "B?s" in my phone book, yet the ending letters of all the entries change constantly). Each movement explores a slightly different application of this treatment.
In addition, the names of the movements also refer to my synesthetic response to the keys I chose. The Yellow Pages is in G major - a key which I?ve always associated with yellow. White is A minor; blue is D major - and those are the respective keys used.