This work—Bonsai Garden Set V—was commissioned to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Ensemble 3, one of Mexico’s most vibrant contemporary music ensembles. The piece is dedicated to Ensemble 3’s members Salvador Torre, Fernando Domínguez and Mauricio Náder and is part of what has become a whole collection of small pieces—an opportunity to explore the delicate musical form of miniatures. The original group of six Bonsai Garden sets were written between 2009 and 2010, with each set of movements dedicated to a different instrumental combination.
Set V is first Bonsai set written for trio, and the overall form shifts fewer movements and a slightly more extensive discourse between the players. Heterophonic textures dominate the first movement, written in the unusual 10/8 meter. The second movement explores piano clusters and melodic mirroring. The third movement plays with the opposition of long and short notes and the kaleidoscopic effects of exchanging musical patterns. A brief and pointillistic rhythmic canon in the fourth movement provides a respite before an outbreak of 1960s American Funk in the fifth movement.