Trey Anastasio

Vermont Youth Orchestra with Trey Anastasio and Ernie Stires

Released Aug 13, 2001 (Available on VHS)

Album Notes


Stires: Chat Rooms
i. The Blue Room
ii. The Green Room
iii. The Red Room
Trey Anastasio, guitar

Ernie Stires (born 1925) has said, "The important thing in swing is that the rhythm is key. The rhythm is key because it’s dance music." And indeed all of Stires’ music is imbued with swing, whether it is opera or organ fugue, violin concerto or jump tune. Stires composed his guitar concerto, "Chat Rooms," on commission from the VYO as a virtuoso vehicle for his best known student, guitarist Trey Anastasio. The piece bridges the sound world of big band swing with the aesthetic of Internet chat rooms. All three movements are about chat. Just as big band soloists of the ’30s and ’40s often exchanged short solos in tight musical conversations, so the orchestral players in "Chat Rooms" engage in a fast paced dialogue with the guitar soloist. There are also ample stylistic conversations, as sounds from the worlds of swing, jazz, rock and classical music meet and exchange ideas. The second movement, "The Green Room," opens with a strikingly beautiful, ritualistic procession before opening up for more swinging conversations. Stires says that the finale, "The Red Room," is "hot." The overall feel of the movement is reminiscent of the finale of Barber’s Violin Concerto, but the opening screeching sounds are intended by the composer to evoke sounds of connecting to the Internet and logging on.

Stires/Anastasio/Peters: Samson Riffs
i. Samson Riff (Ernie Stires)
ii. Samson Variation (Trey Anastasio)
iii. Samson Counterpoint (Troy Peters)
Trey Anastasio, guitar
Ernie Stires, piano

in 1997, Trey Anastasio produced a CD of the music of Ernie Stires, including a guitar and piano recording of a Stires jump tune, "Samson Riff." Around the same time Anastasio composed a complicated contrapuntal variation on the Stires tune which he called "Samson Variation." (On his 1998 solo CD, One Man’s Trash, Anastasio’s "At The Barbecue" re-imagines this thorny, abstract composition as it might be played by a hired blues band as background music before an inattentive crowd of barbecue revelers.) For this concert the pieces were joined in a suite for the first time, along with Troy Peters’ finale of sorts, called "Samson Counterpoint."

Anastasio: Guyute
orchestrated by Trey Anastasio and Troy Peters

In two decades as a composer, Trey Anastasio (born 1964) has written a great deal of music, but this concert introduced his first work for symphony orchestra. Anastasio composed the material that forms the basis of this piece during a trip to County Cork, Ireland in 1992. That music eventually made its way into two separate pieces. Part of it evolved into the first part of the Phish song "My Friend, My Friend," recorded on the 1993 album Rift. The rest of it found a home as the long central instrumental in the song "Guyute," recorded on the 1998 Phish album Story of the Ghost. As Anastasio and Peters collaborated on orchestrating the symphonic "Guyute" in the fall of 2000, they reunited the long separated musical siblings by integrating the material from "My Friend, My Friend" as an introduction and coda surrounding the "Guyute" instrumental. Thus, the orchestral Guyute performed at this concert is an entirely new work, bringing together for the very first time music which was conceived to be together in the first place.

Anastasio: The Inlaw Josie Wales
Trey Anastasio, guitar
Adriane Post, violin
Jane Kittredge, violin
Anja Jokela, viola
Indigo Ruth-Davis, cello

Color / Stereo / 55 minutes

Chat Rooms, Samson Riff © 2001 Ernie Stires. Samson Variation, Guyute (orchestral arrangement), The Inlaw Josie Wales © 2001 Who Is She? Music, Inc. (BMI). Samson Counterpoint © 2001 Troy Peters.

Produced by Dionysian Productions.
Package Design: Jason Colton.
Photography: C. Taylor Crothers.
Originally produced by the Regional Educational Television Network, South Burlington, Vermont
© 2001 Vermont Youth Orchestra