James William Stamm


Asymmetry is the final duo of the set and, in its most robust form, features the intended musical language of the work as explained above. Its construction involves asymmetrical rhythms and counterpoint in a sort of rondo form. Its harmony is lush and soaring as melodies are guided by a swift tempo and met with wonderful chordal movements later in the duo. It is a demanding piece but it offers much elation in its beauty.. — James William Stamm

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Georges Raillard


Imagine bells sounding in a peaceful landscape — maybe there is a church nearby, or maybe there are cows pasturing. Out of this vibrating soundscape emerges a melody, like a bird beginning to sing in the morning. But it’s only a glimpse, with the tune bearing in itself the germ of its own quick disintegration into dissonances. However hard and vigorously the dissonances are played again and again, the melody will never come back. — Georges Raillard



TWO LORDS For Classical Guitar Quartet

Santiago Kodela


Two Lords is a classical guitar quartet suite based on the works of contemporary non-classical guitarists Allan Holdsworth (UK) and Fredrik Thordendal (Sweden).

The suite is divided into 3 movements, titled “Of Textures,” “Of Colours,” and “Of Mechanics.”


The first movement conveys dark imagery full of obscure melodies, counterpoint, and intertwining polyrhythms. This opening movement has a clearly defined structure yet avoids simple repetition of sections. It incorporates different techniques and ever-so-slightly variations within repeats, as well as contemporary techniques which treat the guitar as a percussive instrument.


The middle movement (“Of Colours”) is focused predominantly on the harmonic language of composer Allan Holdsworth. This is a transition movement that explores the harmonization of chords. Relying on Holdsworth’s uncommon chords and distinct use of unstable tonalities, this soothing movement plays with musical colours and tantalizing harmonies. Within a larger frame, this serves as a slow and relaxing passage into the last movement.


The most upbeat of all, the ending chapter of this suite is entitled “Of Mechanics.” Focused on rhythmic richness through the use of isorhythms and polymeters, this movement centers around the use of designed rhythmic-cells, a technique composer Fredrik Thordendal heavily relies on. Heavy use of syncopations, odd-meter phrasing, and time signature modulations are some of the composition elements used in this passage.


Two Lords was written as a part fulfilment of Santiago Kodela’s master’s degree in Music and Media Technologies of the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department at Trinity College Dublin, during the years 2017-2018. The research topic which initiated the quest for writing this suite revolved around the issue of the inversely proportional ratio of the medium’s popularity and number of guitar quartet pieces written for it. — Santiago Kodela



Road Traversed and Reversed

Daniel Adams


Road Traversed and Reversed was composed for percussionist Robert McCormick and the McCormick Percussion Group. It received its world premiere at the 2005 McCormick Marimba Festival in Tampa FL. It is the second of three pieces based on excerpts from English translations of poems by the Nobel Laureate Mexican poet Octavio Paz. The line comprising the title is a recurring refrain in a poem entitled Repetitions; a vivid commentary on the assumption that misery and pain are always new, yet always a repetition of an underlying pathos.


Following an introduction of overlapping roll textures, thematic ideas emerge in an interplay between the two marimbas, with occasional solo passages. The thematic materials increase in rhythmic and textural density over the full range of the instruments. The underlying motives and their variants remain essentially unchanged however, encapsulating the relationship between the composition and the mood of the poem. — Daniel Adams


To obtain publisher and purchase information for Road Traversed and Reversed, please follow this link.



Four Snares

David Arbury


Four Snares is an exploration of the often-overlooked timbral possibilities of the snare drum. Although all four drums are snare drums, they are of different size or make, including one “altered” snare drum that can be any non-concert-quality drum of the performer’s choice, such as a drum with a broken tuning peg or a toy drum. For this recording, an antique snare with a tenuous snare connection was dug up from the back of the studio and taken out for one last spin. With four different drums and ten different types of hits, Four Snares is more than just a snare drum piece; it is a celebration of the wealth of sound available to the snare drum. This piece was written in 2000 and first performed at Arizona State University. It has since gone on to become a favorite of several expert percussion ensembles around the country. — David Arbury



photo: Arbury (far right), Robert McCormick (Middle), and the McCormick Percussion Ensemble: Nick Bruno, Kyle Spence, Kevin von Kampen



Suite for Sarro

Bunny Beck

Suite for Sarro tells a story inspired by circumstances experienced by my friends Iris and Christ Sarro, who were married for many years.


Christ, a fabulous dancer, was declining from a condition that affected him physically and cognitively, so every night Iris made sure they danced at home because they loved to dance. For them, dancing together was a connection of intimacy.


“Tango for Trio” represents a dance during which, because Christ is tiring, the tango music changes to a simple Americana style folk melody. Suddenly Christ falters! Iris reacts with fear, but then she regroups and gently asks Christ, “shall we continue?” But he is unable to, and must sleep.


No longer dancing, Iris sits alone, listening as the tango begins again.


Sadly and suddenly, while I was writing “Tango for Trio,” Christ died.


“Serenity Marked by Discomfort” is a representation of the flux of Iris’ emotional experiences both during and in the aftermath of the loss of a loved one. — Bunny Beck



Bassoon Quartet

Jan Järvlepp

The Bassoon Quartet (1996) was composed for Toronto’s Caliban Quartet as the result of a commission from the Canada Council. They gave the first performance at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival in 1998 to a very receptive audience. Following the common fast-slow-fast format for its three movements, the fourth bassoonist plays contrabassoon in the outer two movements.


The first movement, “Cadillac,” reminded one player of driving down the highway in a 1959 Cadillac, high fins and all. So I renamed the movement to reflect that idea, which seems to capture the spirit of the music perfectly. Indeed, it sounds like one is setting out on some sort of an adventure when the music begins. Each player gets to “wail” with a solo, including the contrabassoon, which sounds one octave lower than the other three bassoons. Near the end of the movement some temper tantrum style of gestures appear but finally all is resolved by the end.


In the slow, lyrical second movement, “Reaching,” the fourth player switches from contrabassoon to regular bassoon, yielding four equally expressive voices which soar together into the highest register of the instrument. They are reaching for the highest notes that the instrument can produce, creating a haunting form of expression not often found in classical music. In fact, their collective sound makes the composer think of a large bird in the wilderness.


The third movement, “Jig,” is a kind of hybrid between the traditional European jig, set in triple time, and more contemporary influences which serve to derail the music from its original rhythmic patterns. Unexpected harmonic changes further draw the listener away from normal expectations. Moments of minimalistic arpeggios appear but don’t overstay their welcome.


There is also a saxophone quartet arrangement of this piece, which has been performed several times in various cities.  — Jan Järvlepp



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