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Adam & Jess

  • Gregory Beyer (b.1973)
  • Duo
  • 2012

This duo is based on an improvisation that I recorded in the summer of 2007 with my graduate student at the time, Adam Cowger. I didn’t complete the composition, however, until many years later. When I opened up the recording project to listen to our improvisation, the gentle opening melodic passage passing back and forth between the two instruments reminded me fondly of Adam and of another student at the time who later became Adam’s wife, Jessica Stockwell. The two met in the NIU New Music Ensemble during a semester in which we programmed Steve Reich’s “Music for Eighteen Musicians.” It was an auspicious year!

The constant rhythmic hocket introduced mid-work and again appearing at the end offers two completely different explorations of the instrument’s capabilities. The first time the hocket is heard, a four-note “melody” on the bass notes of the two instruments plays a game of mathematical subtraction until the opening theme is returned. The passage at the end of the work is a nod to the wonderful “Counterpoint” works for solo instrument and pre-recorded audio composed by Mr. Reich. Each instrument gradually introduces notes in an ascending major scale that rises from dominant to tonic (Gb) to finish the piece. – Gregory Beyer

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