Three Tone Pictures for Piano, Winds and Strings

By Charles Tomlinson Griffes
Composed in 1915

A gifted and eclectic composer, Griffes was born in western New York in 1884 and died prematurely in 1920 at the age of 35.

Although he studied with German pianists and composers, he was most influenced by early 20th-century French and Russian composers, and by oriental music. He developed his own unique style of American Impressionism, which clearly comes through in his Three Tone Pictures.

He originally composed these pieces for solo piano in 1915, and then orchestrated them for small ensemble. An avid devotee of poetry, he chose the titles of these atmospheric pieces from texts in three poems – William Butler Yeats’ The Lake at Innisfree (“The Lake at Evening”); Edgar Allan Poe’s The Sleeper (“The Vale of Dreams”), and Poe’s The Lake (“The Night Winds”).