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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

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

In A Breath Between 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 that enhances the separate nature of their arguments. 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.

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