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accordion and ensemble (2000)

Live recording (excerpt)—9.02.00
Teodoro Anzelotti, accordion
Stefan Hakenberg, conductor
CrossSound Players


flute, horn, trumpet, euphonium, koto, mandolin, accordion, violin (2), cello, contrabass


Duration: 12 minutes
Commissioned by: CrossSound Contemporary Music Festival
Premiere: September 2, 2000
CrossSound Contemporary Music Festival, Northern Lights Church, Juneau, Alaska

program note

Tamarack (the name of a tree common in North America) is written for and dedicated to the CrossSound players and Teodoro Anzellotti. I am particularly inspired by the ability of the accordion to serve as a powerful solo voice, and at the same time to blend amazingly well with a variety of instruments. As a result, this work is mainly an exploration of timbral transformation: pitches and sonic textures are shared and passed around between instruments, both individually and in groups. Throughout the piece, certain rhythmic and melodic elements serve as signals for this process. For instance, fast upward flourishes in the accordion always bring about activity in other instruments, such as undulating sustained tones in the strings, or syncopated rhythmic patterns from the brass section. Articulations played by the koto give rise to swelling trills in the flute or a strumming mandolin. Periods of shimmering calm are contrasted with fast scurrying activity. Initially, the ensemble seems to grow out of the accordion solo, then through a series of shifts and turns the accordion is woven into and around the overall texture, and ultimately a fade to the sounds of metal and wood reveals the solo line once again as it runs off into the distance.

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