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    Adam Greene     composer


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Score Samples

Lotos page 1 Lotos page 3 Lotos page 7 Lotos page 15

Lōtós
(2023)


electric guitar, flute, clarinet, and vibraphone
duration: 9’
SMMP No. 132


Premiere
7 January 2024, The Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, La Jolla, CA. Colin McAllister, e. guitar, Lisa Cella, flute, Robert Zelickman, clarinet, Ryan Nestor, vibraphone, Matt Kline, conductor.

Technical requirements
•       6-string electric guitar (fixed bridge recommended to accommodate scordatura)
•      2 amplifiers, preferably tube amps that are voice matched and equipped with effects loops
•      The following guitar pedal effects, either as individual units or as part of multi-effects systems: volume pedal, wah-wah, Fuzz Face style fuzz pedal, overdrive (medium gain, Klon type preferred), and stereo reverb. This piece uses settings for two specific pedal effects: a “Sea Machine” chorus pedal from Earthquaker devices, and a “Time Machine” delay pedal by Strymon. A utility pedal for splitting a mono signal into stereo (i.e., ABY) may be needed in some situations. Very long series may also benefit from a buffer pedal late in the chain.

Program Note
They wanted only to stay there, feeding on lotus with the Lotus-Eaters. They had forgotten home.

-The Odyssey (9.95-97)
(trans. Emily Wilson)



Lōtós is the third piece in the Nostos series, each of which extends from encounters with Homer’s Odyssey. In the “Lotus-Eaters” episode, the exhausted Ithacans land on an unknown island to gather water after a harrowing sail during which they battled the elements for weeks. Odysseus sends three scouts to meet the local inhabitants, who they find to be peaceful and who share with them a fruit that is deliciously sweet but also which has a powerful narcotic effect. When Odysseus finds his men, they are in a state of addled bliss, uninterested in returning to the crew, seemingly with no memory of their duties or their home. Appalled that they could forget the urgency of their mission, Odysseus decides to physically remove them back to the ships so they can continue their voyage.

This scenario provides a lens through which I developed the relationship dynamics of the instruments in a piece that borrows from the concerto format, insofar as it consists of a series of alternating phrases between the electric guitar and the ensemble. However, whereas a concerto typically features a dialectical engagement between the protagonists, in Lōtós, owing to the use of several quite disruptive pedal effects, all entreaties by the guitarist are hopelessly garbled, foiling attempts at communication. The ensemble is, for a time, mired in a hallucinatory trope. Eventually, there is a gradual clearing of the cobwebs, in which the guitar is able to project its materials with an increasingly clear sense of harmony and the ensemble’s responses become more articulate and dynamic.

As with all the works in the Nostos series, Lōtós was developed in collaboration with the guitarist and scholar Colin McAllister. It is dedicated with gratitude to him and the musicians of NOISE, the resident ensemble of San Diego New Music.