The music on this CD continues my exploration of chamber combinations begun with the L.A. Frames of Mind CD of 2004 and extended in the 'Concerto for Piano & Strings' and the 'Serenade for Chamber Ensemble & Percussion' that accompany the eponymous preludes on my Twenty-Four Preludes for Piano CD from early 2005. At Play is a continuation of process for me in another respect, as well: It contains music that seeks to please the ear and not to disquiet the spirit, unlike much of the art music of the century just past. (And here I must insist that I do not mean to denigrate said music -- being, in fact, a long-term fan of the 'give 'em hell' school of composition). Whether this shift from my earlier music is being driven by a change in attitude as to what should be the social function of the art, or has been occasioned by a desire to mitigate, in whatever respect I might, the often dismal prospect we citizens of the world seem to be facing in the early years of the 21st Century, I cannot say. I suspect both are 'at play' to one degree or another. All of the above was written previous to the terrorist bombings in London of 7/7/2005. A few days before these events, I had completed composition of the first movement of the Sinfonia. I had intended that the Sinfonia would celebrate and extend the over-the-top spirit of the tango first movement. I now knew that I could not in good conscience continue in that vein. Over the following days, waking dreams brought me images -- grainy, black and white images of some human drama emotionally related to the London disasters, but tangential to it. As I continued to work on the Sinfonia, I began to feel that the music was developing as an accompaniment to these images: It was becoming a score for a Silent Movie in my head. Once I had that title, the drama divided into four segments: Festival...The Parting...War March...The Letter. A sadly common, ageless human story. One could argue that the tragic character of the completed Sinfonia places it uncomfortably on a CD titled At Play. Indeed, and the same might be said, in hindsight, of my choice, early in 2005, of the photo from my family history that I incorporated in the cover design for the new CD. We have in this photo a group of children snapped on a Spring day in Waterloo, Iowa in 1941 -- all unaware that mere months later, the attack by Imperial Japan upon the American navel fleet in Pearl Harbor would drastically change their lives forever. At Play? I can say that I retain this title for the CD in full knowledge of the range of meaning inherent in the phrase.