Back to Music Back to Chamber

Veil of Ignorance (2010, rev. 2011 & 2013)

for violin, viola, and cello
duration: 16 minutes


From liner notes by Elam “Ray” Sprenkle (Emeritus, Peabody Conservatory) for the album 88 + 12, Music for Piano & Strings:

Veil of Ignorance, three pieces for string trio, takes its title from John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice. Like Rawls’ “veil,” the music considers ideas from differing points of view. Thus, the theme dominating the first movement is subject to various transformations throughout the entire work. The short, introductory piece lays out the material with verve, the repetitions noteworthy for their variety. The longest movement, more deliberate in nature, yet almost folk-like were it not for the unpredictable rhythmic flow, comes second. A short, rough, vigorous dance concludes the set, the strings instructed to “play open strings where practical.” Remarkable throughout is the texture of the string writing. The trio is frequently asked to play double and triple stops resulting in an ensemble that sounds more like a quartet. At one point the three instruments sound twelve notes simultaneously. Incidentally, the finale’s middle section, which recalls the opening movement, also quotes the first movement of Johannes Brahms’ G major violin sonata.


Veil of Ignorance was premiered at the PARMA Music Festival in Portsmouth, NH on August 16, 2013, by the New England String Trio, featuring Julia Okrusko (violin), Lilit Muradyan (viola), and Ming-Hui Lin (cello). A recording featuring these same performers is now available from Navona Records.

Veil of Ignorance: Allegro molto

Veil of Ignorance: Andante comodo e cantabile

Veil of Ignorance: Allegro vivace


View Score