PAINTED MUSIC is Quatra Duo’s debut album. Heard here are four unique and beautiful contemporary works composed specifically for the combination of flute and guitar. Each composition showcases the distinctive voices of four 21st-century composers and their own approaches to the colorful and expressive possibilities of the flute and guitar.
Suite for Flute and Guitar (2016, 2019)
James McGuire’s Suite for Flute and Guitar was commissioned by Jeff LaQuatra as a Christmas gift to his then-future wife and duo partner, Michelle Stanley. Originally, it was comprised of four movements; “Allegro,” “Lullaby,” “Festive,” and “Dance.” The remaining movements, “Lento” and “Allegretto - Finale,” were completed and added to the suite in 2019. The suite’s six movements display McGuire’s diverse influences of jazz and popular music, but also include hints of impressionism. The movements vary in their use of syncopated rhythms and concise forms, and employ McGuire’s gift of melodicism. Here, Suite for Flute and Guitar receives its world-premiere recording.
Painted Music (2017)
The symbiotic relationship between visual art and music is a common inspiration. Inspired by a shared birthday with Swiss-born artist, Paul Klee (1879-1940), Painted Music is Bryan Johanson’s first contribution to the flute and guitar repertoire. The work is a sonata in six movements. A trained musician himself, Paul Klee shared with many artists the idea that music was the key to producing a new form of abstraction. His love for, and inspiration from, classical music is evident in many of his paintings such as In the Style of Bach, Polyphony, and Ancient Harmony. In this case, Bryan Johanson composed each movement of Painted Music in reference to one of Klee’s paintings as well as a musical form. As one listens to this world-premiere recording, it is recommended to reference the images of each of Klee’s works (found in the titles of each movement) while enjoying Johanson’s evocative, imaginative, and at times, highly virtuosic composition. Painted Music was commissioned by Quatra Duo.
Fish Tale (1998)
“I was an hallucinated fish before. Or, perhaps, that’s just a wish. And if it never happened or never will, this music tells how that would be.” — Osvaldo Golijov
Written for guitarist David Leisner and flutist Eugenia Zuckerman, it is described by Leisner:
“When he finished writing Fish Tale, Osvaldo Golijov called it a ‘watercolor’, a poetically apt description of its slippery, fluid, evanescent nature. It tells the surrealistic tale of the journey of a fish that begins in the ocean, stops to contemplate the sounds of an African thumb piano, continues on, propelled by the wind, which then becomes a tornado, leading to a waterfall, then is suddenly contained in a little fishbowl, and scurrying on to a long swim in a ‘rainbow brook,’ stops to contemplate the passage of time, gets caught by a fisherman who fervently promises to return him to the water, dances a bit of samba, considers anew the passage of time with a sigh, and finally meets the love of his life at the bottom of the sea, dancing a slow waltz to the Brazilian folk music of a ‘marine music box,’ which, like an oyster, opens and closes, to music and to silence.” — David Leisner
It is a mystical, beautiful work that weaves colors and shifting rhythms into a dream-like tale.
From the Dreaming (1991, revised 1997)
Australian visual artist, classical guitarist, and composer Phillip Houghton left a rich legacy of compositions for guitar as well as theatre, dance, and film. From the Dreaming is his only work for flute and guitar.
“The music of From the Dreaming was inspired by a seven-month visit to Australia’s central and northern outback regions in 1986. It left powerful impressions on me – the searing heat, the isolation and stillness, ancient riverbeds and caves, sudden violent electrical storms, and the red carpet of dust sprinkled with flowers of violent yellow, orange and purple. The outback is an eiree (sic) world of iridescent colour, a fantastic spirit world both savage and beautiful where everything means something and nothing, and where the stars at night are only inches from your eyes.
“‘Cave Painting’ was inspired by ancient aboriginal rock art, rock formations, mystery and ‘powerfields’. The guitar in this movement tries to imitate the didjeridu. ‘Wildflower’ is the song of a single flower in an ever-changing panorama and climate of storms, drought, heat and isolation – isolation and endless space. ‘Gecko’ is basically the life and times of a small gecko lizard in scherzo form!“ — Phillip Houghton
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