Composer Spotlight: The Stories Behind Three of Our Favorite Pieces

As a duo, we perform works from our repertoire featuring living composers. A few come with backstories, and we'd like to share them.
By: Duo Sequenza
VALPARAISO, Ind. - June 23, 2021 - PRLog -- Crystal Healing by Gary Schocker (2016)

This piece by flutist-composer Gary Schocker is special to us. In 1992, Duo Sequenza performed at the Bar Harbor Music Festival. In 1993, I (Deb) returned and performed Gary Schocker's Regrets and Resolutions after hip replacement revision surgery and connected with Gary.

After 1993, circumstances dictated my stepping away from performances. In 2014, I attended the National Flute Convention. While there, I picked up Gary Schocker's biography, which included a reference among his "significant events": my performance of his work.

My husband encouraged me to ask Paul if he was interested in bringing Duo Sequenza back.

He was.

Our reunion coincided with Indiana's bicentennial. There was also another birthday to celebrate: that of my crystal 1816 Claude Laurent four-keyed flute.

I contacted Gary about the flute, which he termed the "crystal beast."  He was so inspired by the idea of composing for it that Crystal Healing was in my inbox shortly after. Because our initial connection was during my recovery from surgery, and the composition marked our duo's return to the stage years later and the restoration of my sense of purpose, Crystal Healing was named to acknowledge the healing power of time and music.

Duo Sequenza premiered Crystal Healing in January 2017. We since recorded it for what will be our third Navona Records album.

Gazzedolphylloni by Harvey Sollberger (2008)

This is a collaboration between Italian flutist Severino Gazzelloni and American jazz alto saxophonist, bass clarinetist, and flutist Eric Dolphy—written by American contemporary flutist Harvey Sollberger.

Gazzelloni was the principal flutist with the RAI National Symphony Orchestra and inspired many composers of new music in the 1950s and 1960s. He also inspired many flutists, including Harvey.

The 1950s and 1960s marked a period of intense innovation and inspiration. Gazzedolphylloni looks to capture the spirit and tension of this period. The guitar part invokes Gazzelloni with recognizable elements like angular staccato notes and large interval leaps familiar to listeners of midcentury contemporary classical music.

Four Romantic Songs by Kent Holliday (2014)

We made this discovery through music publisher Cayambis Music Press.

Four Romantic Songs is in four movements. Each explores a mood in a slow-fast-slow-fast pattern: Pensive, Passionate, Nostalgic, Reflective-Determined.

One interesting part from a flute perspective is Holliday wrote several indications of espressivo and legato, words usually connoting the use of slurs but with a conspicuous absence of slurs actually written in the score.

Four Romantic Songs has become a staple in our repertoire and is on our second album, "Yes...It's STILL a Thing!" to be released in late 2021.

Find out more here.

Duo Sequenza
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