merccMERCURY’S SHADOW excerpt

Mercury’s Shadow – violin duo – composed in the summer of 2000. It was written as I was moving to New York City from Ithaca, New York where I had lived for about fourteen years. As a result, the music has a very dynamic quality – the work embraces sonata form and ends with a ‘country dance’ dedicated to the beautiful countryside of Ithaca and my experiences there.
This music asks the question, what is the shadow of shadow? … Bright powerful sunlight? Openness and clarity? Classical structure? When combined with consistent powerful emotion you have the interplay of such polar opposites as inform much of this music.

Simple explanation of over-all form:
The piece begins with two introductions. The first is a dialogue of powerful expressive gestural melodies, the second is more rhythmic and brings the music forward. A fanfare-like rhythm heralds the introduction of the main theme. This leads to a phrase climax and then the exposition repeats with a more contrapuntal realization of the theme. This is followed by a full climax of the ‘A’ section. The ‘character theme’ area has some of the most expressive music of Mercury’s Shadow. Music from the introduction returns and ‘dialogues’ with the intensely passionate lyrical music. After this the ‘finale’ ensues which is the ‘country dance’ mentioned earlier. In this there is the option of improvisation – the dance is repeated and the violinists switch parts, thereby offering the other musician the option of improvising. It has been performed without improvisation as well (with the offered written out music) and in this performance they did not choose to switch at the repeat. The piece ends with a short energetic coda.

For much of the piece the violins act together, making one instrument. There is a constant dialogue of musical and expressive elements. The performance should be very high energy all the way through, especially in the quieter moments. Mercury’s Shadow is of approximately 8’ 40” duration.


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