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    Adam Greene     composer


Sample Score Pages

A Breath Between 1 A Breath Between 2 A Breath Between 3 A Breath Between 4

A Breath Between (2003)

double concerto for flute and violin with small ensemble
(ob, cl, bn, pno, vln, vla, vc, cb)
duration: ca 23'
SMMP No. 114

SONOR, featuring John Fonville, flute, and János Négyesy, violin, and Donald Palma, conductor, April 23, 2003.

Program Note
The expressive world of A Breath Between is a complex affair. I was attracted by the opportunity to construct an elaborate, albeit abstract, stage drama where two principal characters would each explore their own internal motivations simultaneously. The soloists’ activity is guided by a series of original texts which are not spoken but appear in the score as a means of providing a poetic climate in which to frame the musical material. There are two interludes – theatrical asides, if you will – where the music takes a radical departure from the narrative in order to muse on a pair of sculptures (one by Giacometti, the other by Calder). In addition, the soloists move to several locations around the hall over the course of the piece; thus introducing spatial, antiphonal, and theatrical aspects to the work.

The term breath is a guiding metaphor that is woven into the work’s structure. The soloists “breathe” in their own space: their phrases overlap but rarely begin or end together, a feature which enhances the separate nature of their arguments. This staggered phrase structure is extended to the physical space of the auditorium, such that the interval between sound and silence becomes the distance between soloists and from the stage. As the soloists undertake separate journeys their changes in position mark a change in attitude and perspective, emphasis and accent. Rather than emerging in strict contrast materials evolve subtly over the course of the composition.

Drama in instrumental music is, I believe, best left to the listener to perceive rather than for the composer to prescribe a specific point of view to the proceedings. The Concerto tends to be the most overtly dramatic medium in instrumental music and to this end my work certainly owes a historical debt. There are many kinds of drama that I find interesting and that I believe are prompted by A Breath Between. I have suggested something of a drama of material and of characterization. There is also a drama of interpretation, where the listener has an active role in engaging in the music. For example, in this piece one’s seating position will have a strong influence on whether one views the work through the Flute, which is always on the right side of the hall, or the Violin (at left). Furthermore, if one considers the notion of simultaneous monologues there will be moments of saturation, where the rate and density of information require the listener to choose a thread in the overall tapestry. In other words, such moments are an invitation for the listener to determine how she or he will view the total work.