David Gompper: Double Con 'Dialogue', Clarinet Con, Sunburst (2019)
01 Double Con 'Dialogue' vln-cl-orch (2012-16) - I. Introduction 02 Double Con 'Dialogue' vln-cl-orch (2012-16) - II. Episode 1 03 Double Con 'Dialogue' vln-cl-orch (2012-16) - III. Episode 2 04 Double Con 'Dialogue' vln-cl-orch (2012-16) - IV. Episode 2 05 Double Con 'Dialogue' vln-cl-orch (2012-16) - V. Episode 4 06 Double Con 'Dialogue' vln-cl-orch (2012-16) - VI. Cadenza 07 Double Con 'Dialogue' vln-cl-orch (2012-16) - VII. Coda 08 Clarinet Concerto (2013-2014) - I. Vaulting 09 Clarinet Concerto (2013-2014) - II. Balancing 10 Clarinet Concerto (2013-2014) - III. Coursing 11 Sunburst, for orchestra (2015)
Wolfgang David violin, Timothy Gill cello, Michael Norsworthy clarinet Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Emmanuel Siffert
The three compositions found on this album reflect my recent interest in the concerto idea, that is to say the role of a soloist(s) matched against an ensemble. All three works are single-movement casts revealing distinct formal contrasting sections: five in the Double Concerto within a frame, and three in both the Clarinet Concerto and Sunburst.
My compositional approach has also evolved through the exploration of a greater degree of complexity in both time and space, textural landscape and narrative detail. I begin by creating short motivic cells that dissipate into gestural flight, or that recombine into longer and directional phrases. I have also been attentive to formal pacing—what is heard, when, and for how long—and the relationship between content and its inherent durative properties. I believe event-timing is one of the most demanding issues for all composers, one that is typically fraught with miscalculation.
In the end, of course, musical composition is successful only when the imagination takes over and the intuitive spirit is in full control, acting as the final arbiter and judge. The composer is obliged to strike a truce between the analytical and the expressive in search of this balance. Ultimately, however, a composition succeeds only when it evokes the imagination of the listener, who then takes up the journey with the composer at their side.
Double Concerto "Dialogue” for violin, cello and orchestra (2012–16)
Stylistically, the Double Concerto—subtitled "Dialogue” that reflects its conversational nature—covers a wide variety of moods: from lyrical singing to contentious arguments; from inconsequential chatter to moments of deeper reflection. Most important is the gradual awareness of "the other” through the development of distinctive voices. What at first is heard undifferentiated and seemingly identical ends up being distinctive, divergent and idiomatic. In the opening bars, the cello plays in such a high register that one might wonder which instrument is actually being heard. In that short exposition, the cello initiates a descending melodic idea that is completed by the violin, which in turn elaborates and colours the cello’s line in the attempt to engage in dialogue. The role of the orchestra is as a resonator and amplifier, revealing discreet sounds and murmurings "thought” to be heard by the soloists. By the cadenza some 20 minutes later, the lines have returned to a seamless and unified collaboration, soulmates finishing each other’s sentences and speaking as one. Framed by an introduction and coda, the four principle episodes develop various musical ideas suggested in those opening moments. As has been typical of my other more recent works, this piece underwent three expansionary transformations, from an original nine-minute version penned at the Copland House over the winter break in 2011, lengthened to 18 minutes at the Banff Center in 2013, to the final 28-minute version some three years later. This composition was written for Wolfgang David, Timothy Gill, and dedicated to William LaRue Jones and the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra.
Clarinet Concerto (2013–14)
The Clarinet Concerto, an orchestrated expansion of Traceur for clarinet and piano, as well as Sunburst, are both based on sketches that were generated at the MacDowell Artist Colony in New Hampshire in December and January of 2013–14, ideas from the descending order of fractions (1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, etc.) that create symmetrical properties (the Farey series). While this trench work served as a somewhat obtuse structural foundation for both works, the surface and expression of the music in the Clarinet Concerto is very much related to the experience—all imagined—of the art of Parkour, and the person known as a "traceur,” who as a skilled runner and jumper often performs acrobatic feats of flight (always choreographed). Here we find the person trying to run as fast as possible into (but not around) rails and obstacles with minimal energy and without slowing down. In a single movement with three separate sections representing fast, slow-cadenza, fast, the composition was made possible by a grant from the Fromm Music Foundation. It is dedicated to Michael Norsworthy who premiered the work with the University of Iowa Center for New Music Ensemble.
Sunburst is more directly associated with the proportional Farey series as plotted on a lattice, also known as a Sunburst. This star-shaped formation led to the formal and expressive character of the three-part work—that of a series of explosive colours and active textures as if heard in an echo chamber, leading to a meditative and steady "implosion” of the main harmonic and melodic ideas revealing a solo voice heard in the cello. The work ends with the return of the opening material: morphed, truncated, and extended—possibly suggestive of the "reach” of solar flares into the void. Initially a six-minute version commissioned by and dedicated to the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra and their 100th anniversary in 2015, shortly thereafter I expanded it to double its original length. Sunburst is the first of a collection of three works for orchestra—Sunburst, Moonburst, and Starburst.
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