An American Sketch Book, scored for violin and guitar, features a diverse selection of American music genres, all integrated within a work that represents a journey in sketches through America’s recent history of its vernacular. In each movement each genre transforms itself from its traditional version into one with a more contemporary angle. Through its three movements, traits from each genre cross over, which create a very organic fabric throughout the composition.
In the first movement, “From Appalachia, With Blues,” we are taken from old blues to a 1960s bluegrass, particularly Bill Monroe, while elements of harmonica and banjo sounds intertwining throughout the texture.
The slow second movement, “Souliloquy” brings the tradition of soul represented by Ma Rainey to a contemporary Neo-Soul voice, with its suggestive and colorful syncopations and harmonies.
The third movement, “Funk!” explores this original genre from the 1970s. Constructed in three sections, it features a slow, almost improvisatory first part, which eventually becomes more defined and regular in its rhythmic and beat patters, leading to the second section. This section, in moderate tempo, has a clear regularity, which allows the violin to speak (in fact, rap). This idea of almost Sprechstimme combines with the funk progressions at a fast, incessant tempo in the last section, to conclude the piece with a fast groove between the two instruments. “Funk” is a respectful homage to the great masters of guitar and bass like Jimi Hendrix and Bootsy Collins.
This complete work is not yet available, pending its world premiere by Duo Sonidos, who commissioned. “Funk,” the final movement, which was previously commissioned and premiered by Duo Sonidos, is available for purchase in the online store.