In common, independent, intimate, indivisible; duos are idealized
expressions of natural forces and life’s experiences. Duets have been a
particular focus of mine; these duets continue a compositional thread begun
many years ago.
Three pieces use two of the same instrument. Twins can reflect one other;
in Madrigal and Shadow the instruments often play in different kinds of
unison (exact, inexact) and in canon, combining to form one voice capable of
a variety of tone colors and shadings. In A Round, however, the two players
are often in opposition in a variety of ways; loud vs. soft, improvised vs..
exactly notated material, even in competition to see who can play the
The other pieces use two different instruments, one being some form of
percussion. In these works, every effort is made to establish and elucidate
timbral affinities. From Without uses a prepared piano (an instrument
invented by and associated with John Cage) in which various objects,
including Lego pieces, have been inserted between the piano’s strings,
significantly changing the piano’s sound. This “new” percussion instrument
is combined with a timbrack (a group of percussion instruments and/or
objects arranged in a scale) consisting of a metal plate, a large cookie
tin, cowbells, metal pipes, etc. The two instruments together create a
palette of sounds which is extremely diverse and a musical scale which does
not repeat itself in every octave. In Common also uses a non-tempered scale
and combines Western & Eastern aesthetics as personified by the violin and
the temple bowls. Conundrum, on the other hand, features the “well
tempered” marimba, xylophone and (unprepared) piano, all instruments which
use the traditional chromatic scale.
Each of these works attempts to create a singular emotional and sonic world..
All of these pieces were written for the performers featured here, and
benefited greatly from this collaborative process.
David Macbride has written numerous works, ranging from solo, chamber and orchestral music to music for film, TV, dance and theatre. His works have been performed extensively in the United States and abroad: recent performances include the Hartford Symphony, the Arditti String Quartet, League ISCM, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The Royal Spanish Chamber Orchestra performed Poet in New York on its tours of Spain and the US during the Garcia Lorca Centennial in 1998-99. Macbride recently presented a recital of his piano works in Peru at the invitation of the Instituto Cultural Peruano Norte-Americano. Awards include the Georges Enesco International Composition Prize, two Leo Snyder Memorial Composition Prizes sponsored by League ISCM Boston, and the Composers Inc. Prize. Recent commissions include Chamber Music America, Performers of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra. Macbride’s compositions are also available on Concora, Hartt/Next Exit, Opus One, Owl, and True Media Recordings. A solo CD of his works was released in 1993 by Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI). Alex Ross of the New York Times writes: “. . . Macbride achieves a remarkable balance of technical rigor and free spirited invention. . . Composers Recordings has done justice to a distinctive voice in American music.” Macbride is co-founder of Conundrum (with Benjamin Toth) and is on the faculty of The Hartt School, University of Hartford.
As a member of the Vienna Saxophone Quartet for six years, Mark Engebretson
has performed throughout the world. He has appeared as a solo recitalist
throughout Europe and the US and has been featured as concerto soloist with
the Czech National Orchestra of Brno. Also a composer, Engebretson’s works
have been heard at major venues in Europe and the US, including Wien Modern
and the Indiana State University New Music Festival. He has received
commissions from the Austrian Cultural Ministry, the American Composers
Forum, and other organizations. Engebretson currently teaches at the State
University of New York at Fredonia.
As soprano saxophonist of the Amherst Saxophone Quartet, Susan Fancher is an
artist-in-residence on the faculty of the University of Buffalo. She has
performed extensively both as a soloist and chamber musician, touring
throughout Europe, South Africa, and North America. Her musical priorities
center around the interpretation of contemporary music. From 1992-98, she
was a member of the Vienna Saxophone Quartet. Fancher and Engebretson
established the Effiny Saxophone Duo in 1989, and were founding members of
the Chicago-based new music ensemble MeloMania!. Her recordings include CDs
on Philips, Lotus Records Salzburg, and Ostgotamusiken (Sweden), as well as
numerous radio recordings. She is currently recording a CD featuring solo
works that have been composed especially for her. Ms. Fancher performs
exclusively on Selmer saxophones and Vandoren reeds.
The Goldspiel/Provost Classical Guitar Duo is one of the most exciting and
sought after guitars in the country. Formed in 1988, the Duo has been
actively engaged in both promoting new music for the genre and arranging
music not usually performed by a guitar duo. As performing/touring artists
for the Louisian State Division of the Arts, New England Foundation for the
Arts, and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, the Duo has extensive
experience in performing for school children, conducting master classes, and
lecturing on music. Their first recording Bluebird, featuring Edward
Diemente’s composition by the same name, has received critical acclaim and
wide air-play throughout the US. Their second recording, Grand Duo,
features the premiere recordings of Diego Pujol’s Tango, Milonga y Final,
and David Macbride’s Madrigal. Both CDs are available from G/PD Recordings..
Alan Goldspiel is Assistant Professor of Music and Head of the Strings and
Music Theory departments at Lousiana Tech University. Richard Provost is
Professor of Classical Guitar at the Hartt School, University of Hartford.
A highly accomplised soloist, chamber musican, and teacher, Katie Lansdale
performs actively both in the US and Europe. With her piano trio, the Lions
Gate Trio, she has worked with composers internationally for over ten years,
recording new works from France and the US for Triton and Centaur record
labels. Twice resident ensemble at Tanglewood, the Trio recently received
a Copland grant to commission and record American trios. Lansdale is also
co-founder of the Locrian Ensemble, a New York city group which regularly
presents solo and chamber music written in the last ten years. As a
soloist, Lansdale’s diverse performances have ranged from premiering new
concerti with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony to presenting new works for
solo violin to the Society of American Composers. She is currently on the
faculty of the Hartt School, University of Hartford.
John Solum made his debut as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and has
since performed as a flute soloist and chamber musician in 37 countries.
His many recital appearances have included performances at the Queen
Elizabeth Hall in London, the Frick Collection in New York and the Library
of Congress in Washington. In 1983 he became the first American flutist to
give recitals in the Soviet Union. His discography includes over fifty
works for flute and reflects his interest in both modern and early flutes.
For seventeen years he was artistic director of the Connecticut Early Music
Festival and for ten years was director of the annual Bath Summer School of
Baroque Music in England. He has edited many editions of music for Oxford
University Press, the publishers of his book The Early Flute. He has taught
at Vassar College, Oberlin College Conservatory and Indiana University. He
is a former treasurer of the National Flute Association and has served on
the music advisory panel for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Benjamin Toth, director of the percussion program at The Hartt School of the
University of Hartford, has maintained an active performing career during
the past fifteen years, including tours to Japan, Hong Kong, throughout
Europe and the US, and most recently to Trinidad to perform in the 2000
Panorama (national steel band competition). Toth’s varied musical interests
are reflected in his performance credits, highlights of which include The
Percussion Group/Cincinnati, the Sinfonia da Camera of Illinois, Hartford
Stage, and the Jimmy Dorsey Band. He has served on the faculty of the
University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, and was
coordinator and host for the 1999 Percussive Arts Society International
Convention, New Music/Research Day: “A John Cage Retrospective”. He has
recorded for Albany, Arabesque, Bis, Centaur, and Innova (Conundrum:The
Percussion Music of David Macbride featuring Benjamin Toth).
Richard Wyton, flutist, has performed as soloist at Caramoor, Music
Mountain, Wolf Trap and the Connecticut Early Music Festival, and has
appeared with period-instrument ensembles including The Grande Bande and
Helicon. He has recorded on the Arabesque, Epiphany and CRI labels and has
served as Executive Director of the Connecticut Early Music Festival and
Treasurer of the National Flute Association. He is currently president of
the Hanoverian Foundation, under whose auspices he performs with the
period-instrument Hanoverian Ensemble.
Produced by David Macbride
>From Without (Conundrum 2) - recorded at Lincoln Theatre, University of
Hartford, W. Hartford, CT by David Budries, assisted by Damon Ireland,
A Round - recorded at Sound Situation, Glastonbury, CT by D. Budries,
Madrigal - recorded at Sound Situation by D. Budries, 7/7/98
Conundrum - recorded at Millard Auditorium, Hartt School, University of
Hartford by D. Budries, assisted by Matthew Sciaretta, 5/28/98
Shadow - recorded at Skinner Hall, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY by
Stephen Sarper, assisted by Tom Patsenka, 1/21/95. Edited by Feder
In Common - recorded at Sound Situation by D. Budries, 6/11/99
All works edited by David Budries at Sound Situation.
All works are unpublished.
Executive Producer: Philip Blackburn
Design: [ ]
Cover art: Lisa Macbride
Special thanks to all of the performers on this recording.
The Hartt School
University of Hartford
W. Hartford, CT 06117
This CD was supported by a Primrose Fuller Faculty Development Grant from
the Hartt School and a Vincent Coffin Grant from the University of Hartford..
1. From Without (Conundrum 2)(1998) 10:06
Conundrum: David Macbride, prepared piano
Benjamin Toth, timbrack
2. A Round (1996) 10:47
Mark Engebretson and Susan Fancher, alto saxophones
3. Madrigal (1997) 6:02
Goldspiel/Provost Classical Guitar Duo: Alan Goldspiel and Richard
4. Conundrum (1996) 11:16
Conundrum: David Macbride, piano
Benjamin Toth, marimba & xylophone
5. Shadow (1993) 11:44
John Solum and Richard Wyton, baroque flutes
6. In Common (1998) 14:06
Katie Lansdale, violin
Benjamin Toth, temple bowls
Total duration: 64:01