• Gunther Schuller
  • Duologue (1983)

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)
  • vn, pf
  • 23 min

Programme Note

Duologue was commissioned by the McKim Fund of the Library of Congress.

Composer note:
Some years ago I received a commission from the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress for a violin and piano duo. That work, completed in early 1983, became Duologue (Four Characteristic Pieces). It was premiered by Rafael Druian and Benjamin Pasternack in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress on May 18, 1984.

The titles of the work's four sections are sufficient clues to the character of each movement (Threnody; Parody; Fantasia; Fiddle Music) as to require little further comment or introduction. One might add only that, in terms of emotional or characterological states, the first movement is somber, quietly paced — except for a furiously abandoned, climactic middle section. Movement two is pixyish and quirky, until the final whimsical, wispy coda.

Fantasia fluctuates between lyricism and violinistically brilliant passages, ending in an incantatory, finally quieting coda. The last movement is fiddle music, plain and simple (except for the 'changes'), both I the older "Irish reel" manner and the jazzier later "western swing" variety. The rhythmic momentum unwinds twice, relaxing to reposeful cadences, but an attempt at the third 'chorus' is thwarted by an unexpectedly abrupt ending.

— Gunther Schuller