Program Note

The Bolivar Hotel in Lima, Peru has a resident piano trio which serenades the patrons each afternoon in a kind of shabby splendor. The musicians have a threadbare elegance as they reel off tangos, waltzes, and bits of transcriptions from Schubert songs. As in so many hotels whose glory has faded, these musicians are a poignant reminder of a more civilized and unhurried past. It is this image of chamber music entertainers that has guided my choice of musical materials. I imagine the "gigolos and gigolettes" of The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, quietly enjoying afternoon tea or stronger drink, with just a tinge of desperation.

No composition in my catalog has had a longer period of gestation than Dialogues and Intimacies. Over a decade ago my longtime friend, cellist Terry King asked for such a duet; but, I found it impossible to get over the impact of the Kodaly Duo, a chamber work of the largest scope and one of this century's masterpieces. It was only in the process of rethinking the essential nature of a violin-violoncello partnership that I finally could produce a piece with its own integrity.

The structure of each of the three movements, as well as the piece as a whole is very archlike, with reappearances of initial sections surrounding more developmental sections. Consequently, there is a correspondence between sections in the first and last movements, so the middle movement is supported by the pillars of the sonic arch. At the same time, familiar dancelike fragments filter through the surreal haze.

This piece represents the latest in a long series of collaborations with King, a list which includes two piano trios, a violoncello sonata, a concerto, two other duets (one with guitar and one for two violoncellos), and an unaccompanied piece.


March 1, 1998