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.
i. spacious, freely
iii. with exaggerated articulation, almost silly
vi. molto espressivo
viii. spacious, freely
Instrumentation: string quartet
Performed by Girltet: Laurel Lynch, violin; Taryn Arbeiter, violin; Laura Menard, viola; Rachel Wiers, cello
Notes: 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.
Performer: Samsun Van Loon, cello; Eric Choate, piano.
The Transfiguration of Christ is one of the great miracles in the New Testament. In this episode, Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up a mountain where he appears glowing and his garments become glistening white. This work does not depict the narrative of events that are described in the Gospels. Rather, the work comments on the profound experiences of Peter, James, and John before and after the moment when Jesus appears transfigured. The work is divided into two sections representing two different experiences, the first being vividly human and the second being profoundly divine. The first section is filled with wanting, passion, and feeling, bound by a strict sense of time. Being hinged together by the moment of transfiguration, the second section is free of time and filled with awe. The work embodies what is most significant about this great miracle: God meets human nature in an incredibly close way.
Meditation on the Transfiguration was commissioned by Transfiguration Episcopal Church, San Mateo, CA for our deacon, The Reverend Davidson Bidwell-Waite. It is dedicated to him with thanksgiving for his years of service.