Alanna Cushing, piano
Edwin Bingham, saxophone
Julio Alves, guitar
Michael Stroeher, euphonium
Steve Hall, percussion
Conversations Barbara York
Conversations was written for Adam Frey and Scott Stewart. When I began this piece, I had recently returned from a trip to Canada, during which I had the opportunity to visit with family members I had not seen in several years. Each of the movements depicts some sort of conversational and/or family interaction - the type one might experience at such reunion.
The first movement is very much inspired by images of my teenaged stepson, Aaron, on the skateboard he always loved to ride. The second movement is reminiscent of a conversation my sisters and I had about our deceased mother.
The third movement is a little different because it not only includes my son Matthew, about whom I frequently write my most cheerful, energetic and humorous pieces, but because it also reflects a comment that his new bride, Lorissa, made when she finally met our Canadian relations for the first time. She laughingly remarked, "Now I finally understand what is going on when we get together as a family at Christmas or Thanksgiving! I have always thought you were just like a bunch of chickens, all talking at once and yet still keeping track of what everyone else was saying in the same room!" So for Larissa, with my love, the third movement includes both Matthew AND a flock of chickens, all talking and laughing at the same time.
Suite "Dancing with Myself' Barbara York
This is my "take" on a more traditional dance movement suite, but with a slightly more contemporary and even psychological twist.
The movements are all in dance meters and rhythms, but the piece itself is very much interconnected in thematic material and almost cinematic in quality. In that sense, the movements make sense individually but will often have a slightly unfinished quality to them unless they also proceed to the next one. You will notice that the first and third movements begin with the same thematic material, but wind up in different places through their development. I have also chosen to end the piece with the slowest and most introspective of the movements.
To my own mind, the Suite is rather moody and even "quirky" at times without, hopefully, going over the top in that respect. For me it is a bit of the "Bohemian Barbara", coming out of the bars and cafes of my youth into the misty, late-night streets of cosmopolitan Montreal. As the subtitle "Dancing with Myself” suggests, I am also reflecting on the fact that all of our relationships/dances with others are all, in many ways, simply relationships with ourselves (or aspects of ourselves), mirrored back to us in our own perception.
The dedication "to JLL and other friends" is in gratitude to certain people with whom I have had relationships mostly in correspondence, yet who have provided me with insights into myself - even sometimes ones that were both revealing and occasionally somewhat uncomfortable for me.
As always, the dance goes on.
Program notes by Barbara York
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/george_palton/13/