Stephen Syverud

Smoking Mirrors (alto saxophone, piano)

Audio sample-Smokin' (.mp3)

Audio sample-Song (.mp3)

Audio sample-Reflection (.mp3)

Score-Smokin', pg1-2 (.pdf - Click here to acquire Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Score-Song, pg9-10

Score-Reflection, pg14-15

Program Notes:

Smoking Mirrors was written for Athanasios Zervas and is a duet for alto saxophone and piano.The title suggests things are not always as they first appear. The manner in which the musical materials unfold is a direct reference to this magical concept; during other appearances of the same material, the music may sound similar, but sounds somewhat different. An example of the illusion exists even in the basic series; the second hexachord is a retrograde of the first ......... almost. Additionally, the prime row is duplicated (....almost ......) in a transposed retrograde inversion. At the beginning of the first movement, the alto saxophone unfolds the series and its "duplicate" in a time frame of 4+2 and 2+4 as the piano is presenting tetrachordal rotations of a transposition suggestive of pitch and interval collections which are simultaneously heard in the saxophone. Repeated pitches and rhythmic values are an integral part of the initial statements and reappear throughout the entire composition. The piano treats the material trichordally at the beginning of the second movement while the saxophone plays a rather lyric through-composed line relating "almost" to the Fibonacci series in terms of pitch, rhythmic values, dynamics, and timbre. As the Song continues, the roles of the two instruments tend to interchange. Repeated pitches become more prevalent and prepare the way for the final movement, Reflection. As the title of the last movement suggests (mirrors - also related to the title of the piece), material from the first and second movements form the basis and provide the illusion that the music has been previously heard.

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