Commissioned by Centerline Duo: Gözde Çakır, flute and Ryan Ramsey, saxophone. Premiered at the 2017 North American Saxophone Alliance Region V conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
This work was written while I was serving as the composition fellow at the 2016 Bowdoin International Music Festival. The theme of the festival was (Re)Invention, suggesting that everything that we were doing as musicians, even though attached to a tradition that goes back hundreds of years, stays fresh in the present because we are constantly putting new perspectives into our art.
Inspired by this theme, I wrote this series of duos in the form of Baroque inventions using 21st century compositional techniques. The first movement consists mostly of a tight eighth-note canon between the duo, and the leader of the canon is constantly switching between instruments. It is simultaneously an inversion canon with an axis of symmetry around the pitches E and B flat. Towards the end, I slip in a direct quotation from one of J.S. Bach's famous keyboard inventions, only to be raucously interrupted by its mirror image one bar later.
The second movement is slow and more lyrical and significantly less strict in its construction. The two instruments' imitation is freer throughout. A quickly rustling figure that is partially improvised transports the music from calm and sustained to agitated and frenetic before the clarity of the opening returns.
The final movement is a collapsing canon, starting at an interval of four quarter notes. Over the course of the movement, this interval gradually shortens until it is only one quarter note at the end. Highly pointed rhythmic hocketing lends to this movement's groovy nature, and it becomes increasingly jazzy as it goes along.
Duration: ca. 8'30"
Note that there are two instrumentations - flute and soprano saxophone, and flute and oboe.