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Dialogues
for alto saxophone and electric guitar
(2017)

LeftRepeat
RightRepeat

The title of this piece refers to both the dialogues the instruments engage in and to the “dialogues” the movements sometimes have with non-classical music. They are essentially modern “concert music” whose structures, expressions and effects are often the result of hybrids. It was composed for the Bobbi Thompson - Ariel Kasler duo.

I - Not Too Blue…
This title is an admonition to the composer. Even though two bluesy-sounding complement hexachords (6-note groups with no common tones) are used, the gaol was to not compose blues or jazz. So, for example, jazz harmony isn’t used and phrase lengths aren’t traditional. Instead, triads accompany melody notes in non-tonal ways and jazz-like syncopations interact with phrasing based on an increasing number of beats.

II - Searching
In this movement, extreme reverb sustains guitar notes to create a sense of space. The saxophone then plays in and around that atmosphere, often bending notes or leaving them hanging “out of tune” in an expressive and longing sort of way. After a slow opening melody, the guitar and saxophone begin interacting more, adding character contrasts and drama.

III - Pulsing the Void
A slow digital delay repeats guitar notes in this movement so that as more notes are played, more complex rhythms and textures result. The saxophone then uses the basic pulse of the delay’s repeats to set the tempo and play a melody within those textures. Structurally, the piece is based on a series of complex chords, but they don’t create a traditional chord progression.

(performance time ca. 10 min.)