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Mint Cherry Summer Dreams* (2024)


merger* (2024)

Steven Swartz

As They Say^ (2013, rev. 2022)

i Scherzo - Wordplay

ii Acorns

iii Get Wisdom

iv If ifs

Jordan Nelson

My Loves Are in America** (2020)

Carolyn Chen

* Aperture Duo commission and premiere

^ Premiere of violin/voice and viola/voice version

**co-commissioned with andPlay 

Program Notes

Mint Cherry Summer Dreams - JIJI (2024) 


It's a bittersweet feeling just looking back at the things, not knowing it was going to be the last time: playing with your childhood friends in the playground, having dinner together and getting drunk with your friends, the last time your dad picked you up before you grew too big, the last day you got to wear your favorite dress as a child, the last time you saw that special person, the last sip you had of your favorite drink (before it got discontinued), and the last walk you took going to school. 

merger - Steven Swartz (2024)

I’ve always been intrigued by moments in a chamber work when the boundaries between two instruments become porous and their identities blur. So I've written several pieces in which pairs of instruments share and trade musical material. Sometimes the pairs are identical, as in Cold Spring ( (two violins, with vibraphone and glockenspiel) or Aerial ( (two Bb clarinets, with piano). And sometimes they’re quite divergent, as in Corduroy ( (guitar and piano).

merger occupies a space somewhere in between: the violin and viola’s timbres are closely related yet distinct, offering both close affinity and subtle contrast. For much of the piece, the two instruments share the same material – they’re unified, yet autonomous. Likewise Adrianne + Linnea's singing voices, which occasionally join the musical texture. This interplay of singularity and duality brought the title to mind.
The four sections that form merger range widely in mood: expectant, playful, melancholy, tranquil. As the piece began to take shape, I was struck by its resemblance to John Cage’s String Quartet in Four Parts, in which each movement corresponds to a seas
on of the year (though Cage begins with Summer). In this regard, both pieces recall a much more famous work for strings, written centuries earlier.

As They Say - Jordan Nelson (2013/2022) 


As They Say was originally written in 2013 as a suite for viola/voice and piano/voice.  In 2022, I revised and re-engineered the piece for the awesome Aperture Duo.  The texts, compiled in collaboration with Will Clifton and Andi Hemmenway, come from a variety of proverbs, parodies of proverbs, excerpts of different biblical translations, and colloquial tongue-twisters.

My Loves Are in America - Carolyn Chen (2019)


Once a traditional Irish musician played something for a group and asked how many times we heard the tune. I was the only one who had no idea. What was I listening to then? The ornaments. He told me to listen to Tommy Potts, the iconic Irish fiddler whose highly individual, virtuoso playing added beats, improvisations, and radical treatments of tune structures, taking inspiration from jazz, Chopin, and Rachmaninov. This piece pays homage to the freedom and singular expressiveness of Tommy Potts’ music. My Lovesis a study of My Love Is in America from his only album, The Liffey Banks. The title implies a separation – my love is in America, I might say, because I am not. This piece was written in the summer of 2018, while official US immigration policy separated children from their parents who entered the country. The piece is a celebration of virtuosic eccentricity, exploring how voices moving in different senses of time can coexist and groove together.

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