Some Things Just Get Better With Age!
We're back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It seems like only yesterday Duo Sequenza was galavanting around the country ...and the world... making music. Twenty one years sounds like an awfully long time, but Paul and I both feel like those intervening years just sort of vaporized once we got back together. We've had a great time so far "resurrecting" some of our absolute favorites from the flute and classical guitar repertoire! What are those you ask? Ned Rorem's Romeo and Juliet, Easley Blackwood's Rondo Caprice, Op. 35, Partita, Op. 103 by David Noon and Robert Beaser's well-known and well-loved Mountain Songs.
The only work Rorem has written for flute and guitar is simply sumptuous and richly evocative of the emotions of Shakespere's tragedy. Although my mind's ear easily imagines the words Rorem might have written, had he composed this work as nine "songs" rather than nine "pieces," this piece is so exquisitely realized for our instrumentation that I think it may just prove that words truly do interrupt the stream of emotions. Ned Rorem was born in our home state, Indiana, and we played this piece quite a lot in Europe, Asia and around the U.S. back in the day.
In 1992, we commissioned another native Hoosier who also just happens to be a major American composer... Easley Blackwood. Although we dissolved our Duo before recording this great piece, we did give its World Premiere at the Bar Harbor Music Festival that summer. Easley Blackwood was known for composing microtonal, polyrhythmic music for nearly thirty years, but he returned wholeheartedly to tonality in the late 1970s. His Rondo Caprice, Op. 35 sounds absolutely classical...until you realize that Blackwood makes a point of dancing through virtually every chromatic key at least once! He told us that he composed this piece as he imagined Schubert would have done, had Schubert lived another thirty years!
Continuing with the dance theme is David Noon's Partita, Op. 103. This charming work in four movements seems to have enjoyed more popularity being played by soprano saxophone and guitar than with the flute, and I'm not sure why that might be. It has been a delight to program once again, and our audiences continue to be very enthusiastic about it!
We started rehearsing in January, performing for the first time back on March 12 for the Bach's Lunch Hour in Wilkesboro, NC. On May 20, we celebrated National Chamber Music Month with a formal evening concert, "American Treasures," featuring the above four works at the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso, IN. We were blessed with a warm, enthusiastic audience on a cold, rainy night (Val-pa-rain-snow-Windy-ana?!?!?) We should've served hot chocolate, instead of cocktails!
Reviving Duo Sequenza by rehearsing and performing works we feel so strongly about has been a joy, helping us to able to recapture our special sensitivity to one another in ensemble. We have a number of new pieces coming up this season by composers Willy Burkhard, Harvey Sollberger, Gary Schocker, Daniel Dorff, Michael Daughtery and Christopher Caliendo. We'll also be bringing back several great works we've done before by Deirdre Lynds, Bela Bartok, Jacques Ibert, and James Park. Yes, those are all twentieth century composers, but you mustn't let that scare you. Remember, our commitment is to make the newer works we perform into your new favorites! For us, it's always been about you, our audience. That said, there will never be contemporary rivals for the prolific works of Mauro Giuliani, CPE Bach's Hamburg Sonata, or his father's magnificent Sonata in E major (BWV 1035), all of which we will continue to perform, along with other traditional masterworks. It is absolutely wonderful to perform as Duo Sequenza once again! Both Paul and I are looking forward to making and sharing music to move your mind and nourish your soul!