And the Lamp Tilted Near Them 2019, (17’)

for oboe, violin, cello, piano

Conceived and commissioned by Victoria Schonfeld (1950-2019) for Cantata Profana Ensemble

Available from Subito Music


Performed by:

Arthur Sato, oboe
Jacob Ashworth, violin
Madeline Fayette, cello
Sophiko Simsive, piano

Movement One – Henri Matisse’s Dance: Always graceful, never too fast

Movement Two ­– Kol Nidre: Largo, molto rubato; scherzo, furioso

Movement Three ­­­– Floating, blooming, dying

In the third year of her valiantly fought war with cancer, my close friend, Victoria Schonfeld, commissioned me to compose a piece for her. I accepted with the proviso that it be “our piece.” She picked the instrumentation with characteristic thought and reasoning, not knowing that this combination, which I have found so marvelous to work with, is very rare. Vicki chose the three-movement structure, and told me what she would like each movement to be about. For Mov’t. 1, she simply said Henri Matisse’s painting Dance. Mov’t. 2 was the hardest, emotionally and musically: she asked that the movement grow from the great Carlbach melody ‘Kol Nidre’, and that it contain her “fear of pain and a slow descent, and sorrow at missing my children’s lives. And at missing the beauty of the world.” I have tried to express all this in the second movement. For Mov’t. 3, she asked for “Flowers: floating, blooming, dying.”


I began work on the sonata immediately in the spring of 2019, but, just as immediately, Vicki moved into palliative care. I wrote in a race against time. With the tremendous humanity and artistry of musicians Arthur Sato, Jacob Ashworth, Madeline Fayette and Sophiko Simsive, we were able to create a video which Vicki saw and heard before she passed away October 8, 2019. These same four artists came together two months later to create this audio demo. The title comes from the Robert Frost poem “An Old Man in Winter.” For Vicki, with so much love.