Friday, July 06, 2012

CCC 036 - William Duckworth

For this installment of the Consonant Classical Challenge, we feature American composer William Duckworth. Although his music is basically tonal, Duckworth is interested in incorporating other musical traditions into what's considered "classical" music. The results are fresh, interesting, and surprisingly very accessible to most audiences.

One of his most important works is a collection of piano preludes known as the Time Curve Preludes. These works also serve as a good introduction to Duckworth's compositional voice.

Duckworth has composed over 200 works, mostly for small ensembles. He has written some important orchestral music, though. This is "Always changing, moving ahead" from his composition "Mysterious Numbers."

Duckworth is interested in synthesis -- the blending of musics and traditions and even technology. One of his more interesting projects has been an iPod opera, which combines podcasting with spontaneous playback from multiple devices to create and recreate something new from the same basic materials.

But he's also interested in the past. His "Meditations on Satie" demonstrates that. And I suspect that Duckworth felt an affinity to Satie, who was also interested with infusing classical music with new influences.

William Duckworth is one of those composers who can be a bridge between traditional and new classical music audiences. His music is well-constructed and is clearly tied to classical music traditions. Yet his works also speak in the vernacular of modern non-classical music, which is a language most twenty- and thirty-somethings will find very familiar. And really -- shouldn't that make him an ideal choice for concert programmers?

Recommended Recordings

William Duckworth: The Time Curve Preludes

Southern Harmony

New American Scene III

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