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Sanctuary at 3am
Five works for various chamber ensembles

"This piece ("Sanctuary at 3am") was composed for my flutist friend, Betty Porter, though I later decided it would be more effectively scored for the darker sound of the clarinet. The piece evokes the peculiar feelings we have upon encountering large, empty places that are intended to be occupied by crowds - in this case, the sanctuary of a church in the deep of the night. It is empty but not quite silent; hear the little creaks and murmurs of an old building, the chimes ringing in the steeple above and perhaps the ghostly echo of a remembered hymn. But the piece is also about the idea of "sanctuary" - a safe place during the dark night of the soul. Finally, the piece affirms the comfort we still find in old-fashioned tonality and tunefulness. Even at this late hour, after the agony that characterized so much of 20th century music, we can return to the sanctuary of G major and g minor and take refuge in a slow, sad tune. "

  1. Sanctuary at 3 AM [6:27]
    for Bb clarinet and piano; 2000
    Anthony Costa, clarinet, Phil Amalong, piano
  2. Lullabye for Kara [7:17]
    for cello and piano; 2002
    Phil Amalong, piano, Jeff Schoyen, cello
  3. Variations on a Hiking Song [15:52]
    for piano solo; 1992
    Phil Amalong, piano
  4. Impressionist Suite #2
    for oboe, clarinet & bassoon; 2000
    Mark Ostoich, oboe, Ron Aufmann, clarinet, Mark Ortwein, bassoon
    I. Cassatt; A Lullabye [3:32]
    II. Caillebotte; Precision [4:13]
    III. Sisley & Bazille: Joyful Skies, Lament for the Fallen [5:06]
  5. The View from Carew [10:00]
    Romance for Bb clarinet, cello & piano; 2000
    Anthony Costa, clarinet, Jeff Schoyen, cello, Phil Amalong, piano

Total playing time [52:45 ]
©2004 Rick Sowash Publishing Co

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A self-styled Ohio Charles Ives, Sowash embraces vernacular music and has the skill and sensitivity to fashion approachable yet intellectually satisfying art music.

Such is the case with his six-and-a-half minute clarinet and piano jewel Sanctuary at 3 AM. Anthony Costa, clarinet and Phil Amalong, piano, have made a lovely recording of this intimate piece that evokes the sanctuary of a church in the middle of the night. The musical materials are simple but Sowash includes just enough harmonically altered notes to keep the music sounding fresh and the listener wondering when and how the next surprise will be realized.

 If you love melody, check out Rick Sowash's music. you will be glad you did.

-Gregory Barrett
The Clarinet
June, 2011

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Review of the CD “Sanctuary at 3am”
by Charles Parsons
from The American Record Guide, September/October, 2004

"It’s all totally tonal, tender, melancholy, quietly old-fashioned and exquisitely beautiful, exquisitely played. The music rests gracefully and gratefully in the ear. It’s music to “get away from it all.” What a treasure! What a pleasure!"

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"Rick Sowash: Sanctuary at 3 am "
by Ray Silvertrust, The Chamber Music Journal

"Mr. Sowash's music cannot be pigeon-holed. At times neo-classical, romantic, neo-romantic, or impressionist, the music is always original and never hackneyed or low-brow." 

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