Amethyst is a musical pas de deux. The work features many duets, sections with two contrasting ideas, two larger contrasting sections (marked by different tempi), and an ongoing argument between two key areas (D-major and F-Major). After going back and forth between contrasting sections, the piece finally relaxes in a coda that synthesizes both themes and key areas.
The sultry tangos of two Argentine Composers, Astor Piazzolla and Osvaldo Golijov, served as models for this piece. The Argentine tango is a dance characterized by the tango rhythm (two dotted-quarters followed by a quarter) in 4/4 time. Piazzolla developed this musical form and took it to the concert stage, stamping it with his sweeping melodies and harmonic sequences. Golijov added a 20th century flair, involving extreme chromaticism and extended techniques including slides and unusual bowing effects. I wrote Tango while studying in Paris, a city that has greatly embraced the Argentine tango as well as the rise of modernity in the early 20th century. Tango is a product of these two traditions: I have combined elements of the tango tradition with Stravinsky's dislocated accents and tightly spaced, biting sonorities, resulting in a piece that is both machine-like and steamy. Tango was written in Paris while studying composition with Narcis Bonet at the European American Musical Alliance. It was premiered on the stage of Salle Frank at La Schola Cantorum, Paris.