NFA "Salone del Astor" World Premiere | Sunday 2:15 PM Regency T August 11 2018
The thought just popped out of my mouth. Literally. Kristen and I were at Louis Anthony deLise’s studio, listening to “Red Lotus” (flute/string quartet) and out it came. “I’d like to commission you to compose a piece for me.”
Almost a year later, here we are, on the eve of the premiere of the piece.
One of the elements I admire about Louis’s music is the incredible contemporary nature of it. “Salone del Astor”, for flute and vibraphone. Louis has a background in writing and producing music for recordings and broadcasting as well as concert pieces for instrumentalists and singers. Knowing this, my request was to fuse these idioms with classical forms, to create something very new.
Louis does not write easy music. “Salone” is no exception. Practicing it alone revealed lots of technical challenges because the patterns of notes and intervals were very different. Soon, however, the notes fit nicely under my fingers. The rhythms, shifting meters, cross accents, and syncopation were challenging to be sure, but given the organic nature of the work, all made sense with practice.
The first read-through with Harvey Price on vibraphone revealed the challenge of ensemble.
It took several rehearsals for us to find a degree of comfort to be able to not hold onto every eighth note!
A great test was when Harvey and I played “Salone” in its entirety for Linda Henderson, Harvey’s wife. Front to back, whatever happens, happens and we recover and go on. This was real pressure. Linda is a fabulous musician, pianist, and has the best ears in the biz. We nailed it almost entirely!
One word about Harvey: he is accurate. I can depend on him to be where he has to be, when he has to be there. Period. Rehearsals have been business like, high energy, and some of the most productive I have experienced. No fuss, no muss, get the job done.
Now on to the premiere. Lessons learned, notes in fingers, rhythms indelibly ingrained.
Let’s see how it goes!!!
PS I have the perfect dress, shoes, and accessories. In case you were worried.