SMALL CHAMBER ENSEMBLE - A Short History of the Universe ( As related by Nima Arkani-hamed) (2013) - (cl, str qrt) 

Duration - 20:00

A Short History of the Universe (as related by Nima Arkani-Hamed)_ was commissioned by Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts for premiere performance on January 11, 2013 at the Barns at Wolf Trap. Many thanks to the JACK Quartet, Peter Robles, and Wolftrap for helping to make this commission possible.

Derek Bermel’s “A Short History of the Universe” — a clarinet quintet receiving its world premiere - proved to be a surprisingly playful work. All that freewheeling postmodernism made for an engaging, extremely enjoyable listen — an intriguing new work from a very 21st-century composer.
— Washington Post
The writing is simultaneously comprehensible and quirky, a series of gestural thought experiments that catch listeners off-guard without ever letting them lose the thread of the argument. And although the crackle of ideas is evident throughout, Bermel never descends into arid theorizing - there’s a deep vein of wit and beauty enlivening the proceedings.....The piece is in three movements of a traditional cast - expansive opening argument, lyrical slow movement, exuberant finale - and each one adopts a similar formal strategy. Some simple, clearly recognizable thematic material is laid out, and then Bermel invites you to follow along as he pulls and prods and distorts that material as if in some Einsteinian fun-house mirror.
— San Francisco Chronicle
Proving himself capable of playing anything and everything on his instrument, Bermel joined members of the ensemble in his A Short History of the Universe for String Quartet and Clarinet ...... The work’s three movements’ scaled the wall of sound: violins skittering dervish-like, clarinet spritely bouncing or plunging athletically, cello skating marvelously throughout and ending on Salerno-Sonnenberg’s final, trembling note.
— San Francisco Weekly