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The Irrelevants | Dialogues

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by The Irrelevants

Saxophonist Carrie Koffman and violist Tim Deighton create innovative musical conversations.
Genre: Classical: New Music Ensemble
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Dialog (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
6:19 $0.99
2. Prelude, Allegro, and Pastorale: I. Prelude (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
3:33 $0.99
3. Prelude, Allegro, and Pastorale: II. Allegro (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
3:41 $0.99
4. Prelude, Allegro, and Pastorale: III. Pastorale (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
6:06 $0.99
5. Ritual (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
8:51 $0.99
6. Lachrymae (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
5:00 $0.99
7. Relevant Dialogues: 1 (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
2:02 $0.99
8. Relevant Dialogues: 2 (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
2:35 $0.99
9. Relevant Dialogues: 3 (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
3:24 $0.99
10. La Machina Line (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
4:10 $0.99
11. Fragments: I. Burlesque (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
1:41 $0.99
12. Fragments: II. Arioso (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
6:06 $0.99
13. Fragments: III. Moresca (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
1:12 $0.99
14. Bid Call: I. Rapid Fire (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
3:41 $0.99
15. Bid Call: II. Traige (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
3:39 $0.99
16. Bid Call: III. Rapidfire with Bodhran (feat. Tim Deighton & Carrie Koffman)
4:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
About us:

Okay, so the name of our duo is not completely serious. It refers to our instruments’ underdog reputations. But we’re serious about the music we play. We hope you’ll be as pleasantly surprised by the combined sounds of our instruments as we were the first time we played together.

We’ve really enjoyed the process of working with composers and developing this repertoire. All of the pieces on this disc were either written for us or arranged by us, except for Mansurian’s Lachrymae. It’s been a fascinating process experimenting with sounds, creating a variety of complementary, contrasting, and composite sonorities to help us bring the music to life.

We’ve been working together as “The Irrelevants” since 2003, performing throughout the United States, New Zealand and in Italy. We perform in a variety of venues, from academic institutions and new music festivals to community chamber music series.

Carrie Koffman teaches on the faculty at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. Prior to this, she held positions as Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Penn State University, at the University of New Mexico, and taught at Boston University. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe, New Zealand, and in Thailand, China and Argentina. Koffman holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from the University of North Texas. Koffman is also a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher and teaches Yoga for Performers.

Tim Deighton is Professor of Viola at Penn State University. A native of New Zealand, he has lived in the United States for more than twenty years. He has performed and taught extensively throughout both countries, and in South and Central America, Europe, Britain, Canada, South Africa, and Australia. Chamber music and new music are particular interests, and he has collaborated with such groups as the American and the New Zealand String Quartets, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and he participates in numerous festivals here and abroad.

About the music:

Prelude, Allegro, and Pastorale by Rebecca Clarke was composed in 1941, and was originally conceived for clarinet and viola. Although Clarke never sought publication for this duet, she valued it highly, and in 2000 it became the first of the instrumental works left in her estate to be published. This is the world premiere recording of the authorized transcription for saxophone and viola created by The Irrelevants.

Rebecca Clarke was born in 1886 into a musical family in Harrow, England. She switched early from violin to viola at the suggestion of her composition teacher, Sir Charles Stanford, who pointed out that as a violist in an ensemble, she could be "in the middle of the sound," and thus gain a clearer understanding for how the music was constructed. In 1919, her viola sonata caught the attention of the public when it won second place in Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge’s annual composition competition. At the beginning of World War II she moved to New York, where she lived until her death in 1979. Her output, showing particularly the influence of English folk song and French Impressionism, consists mostly of chamber music and vocal music.

Two main ideas underpin Martin Lodge’s composition Ritual. The first is an acknowledgement that music exists not just to entertain or delight, but also to connect people with others, with places and with themselves. It can do this through ritualistic functions. A second idea is borrowed from the formalized rituals of encounter, which most societies have. In Maori culture, when strangers approach a village there is a structured protocol of exchanges between the locals (known in Maori as tangata whenua) and the visitors (known in Maori as manuhiri). This exchange includes theatrical and musical elements. In Lodge's Ritual the viola and saxophone may be thought of metaphorically as playing the roles of tangata whenua and manuhiri respectively, in a musical ritual of encounter. Opening with an approach from afar, there are challenges, dialogues, conversations and eventually a dance of engagement. This musical process is interfused with intimations of the sounds of nature, which will always permeate outdoor rituals.

Martin Lodge is a composer, writer on music and teacher. He is past Chair and current Associate Professor of composition in the Music Department at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. He has held composer residencies with the University of Otago (Dunedin) and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and has fulfilled commissions from leading performers and ensembles in New Zealand and other parts of the world. Several of his recent works involve conjoining elements from traditional Maori music and the Western art music tradition.

Tigran Mansurian’s Lachrymae, inspired by the lachrymae tradition of expressing grief and mourning in music, was composed when a friend close to the composer became ill. Written for violist Kim Kashkashian and saxophonist Jan Garbarek, the two instruments often merge to form a single composite voice, the two instruments often merge to form a single composite voice, while elsewhere maintaining their individual characters. They share each other’s pitches, emerging out of unisons, and intertwining melodically. The soprano saxophone recalls the sound of a duduk, a traditional Armenian wind instrument.

Tigran Mansurian was born in Beirut, and his family moved to Armenia when he was eight. Mansurian studied at the Yerevan Music Academy and completed his PhD at the Komitas State Conservatory where he later taught. He has become one of Armenia's most significant composers, establishing creative relationships with numerous international performers and composers. Mansurian was the director of the Komitas Conservatory in the 1990s, and now focuses exclusively on composition. His musical style is characterized mainly by the synthesis of ancient Armenian musical traditions and contemporary European composition methods.

The title of Paul Seitz’s work, Relevant Dialogues refers to the duo, of course, but also to an exploration of several ways in which the two instruments might interact. It investigates modes of musical conversation in which the audience can follow the introduction of new ideas by one individual as well as the unspoken processing of the listening partner. The two conversationalists exchange these roles, and sometimes perform them simultaneously (as in the conversations we all have). The third movement is built on musical ideas inspired by motives in the first two movements and presents a developing trust and a deepening communication built on the present moment and on every prior interaction.

Paul Seitz has composed music in many genres including opera, a variety of chamber music, vocal music, and works for symphony orchestra and wind orchestra. He received his DMA in Composition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also completed his MM degree in Music Theory, and the MA degree from Columbia University. His primary composition teachers include Stephen Dembski and Fred Lerdahl. He currently teaches Music Theory at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His music is published by Cambium Music Publications/Subito Music, Latham Music/Lorenz, and Paul Seitz Music Publications.

La Machina Line is part of a three-movement work written for The Irrelevants by Dan Román. The piece takes as its subject Puerto Rican culture in the United States, and the distinctive and colorful amalgam of the cultural crossroads, with mingled languages and ideas that results. The work focuses on the community of Hartford, Connecticut, and in particular the area of the city around Park Street (commonly known by many local residents as “La Park”). The title refers to the “Spanish-ization” of the word “machine,” and in this case, specifically to a city bus. The music depicts a trip through the areas of downtown Hartford and Park Street, and a quick vision of the transmutation of a typical Northeastern American cityscape into a dream of Puerto Rican urban landscape.

Dan Román has developed a compositional style integrating elements of the folkloric music from the Caribbean, and in particular that of his native Puerto Rico, with the mechanics of minimalism and the aesthetics of postmodern art. His music has been performed in Puerto Rico, South America, Spain, France, Austria, Italy, and throughout the United States. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Guitar from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, where he studied with Leonardo Egúrbida, and Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in Composition from The Hartt School, where he studied with James Sellars and Robert Carl. Dan Román is currently Professor of Composition at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Joseph Turrin’s Fragments is in three short movements, each having a condensed and economical personality with little space for elaboration. As its title suggests, the “Burlesque” is a quick 6/8 romp. Humorous in character, it is built on a three-note fragment consisting of intervals of the second and the sixth. The character in the “Arioso” is one of sinuous melodic lines. There are free flowing cadenzas for both players, an ostinato section which develops out of the opening cadenza, and a return to the opening material. The “Moresca” is a Moorish dance in 2/4. Both instruments play off one another starting with a simple melodic fragment in thirds.

Joseph Turrin’s music has been commissioned and performed by the some of the world’s leading orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists. His work encompasses many varied genres including film, theater, opera, orchestral, chamber, jazz, electronic, and dance. Several of his films and recording projects have been nominated for Emmy and Grammy Awards. He has been a recipient of commissions from the New York Philharmonic, the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, and Live from Lincoln Center. In 2006 he was awarded an honorary degree from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester. He is currently on the faculty of The Hartt School and Montclair State University.

Michael Kimber’s Dialog is derived from an earlier work for either solo saxophone or solo viola entitled Monolog. In this new work, the two players share the original solo material of Monolog in alternation with new material. Dialog explores the wide tonal and expressive ranges of both instruments in a largely improvisatory sounding language, and in essence creates a new sonority that is a blend of the two instruments playing together.

Michael Kimber is active as a violist, teacher, and composer. Now residing in Iowa City, he previously held tenured faculty positions at the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Kansas. Kimber is the composer of numerous works, mostly for strings, and often didactic in nature. “As a violist who also composes, I’m naturally inclined to write music that I will enjoy playing. Sounding ‘contemporary’ is not my goal; my ‘style’ depends upon the kind of music I’m writing. I find particular inspiration in writing music evocative of other times and places, and every time and place suggests its own unique style. Most importantly, I want my music to communicate – to enable the performer to enjoy communicating and the listener to take pleasure in experiencing – a broad range of emotions. Music is not only to be heard; it is also to be felt.”

Libby Larsen’s Bid Call is the result of her interest in finding musical form in American language traditions. “Music form is everywhere and evident in the way we speak American English, such as the revivalist preacher's sermon form I adapted in my piece Holy Roller. Or freeway driving form, as I used in my piece Four on the Floor. I have been studying Scotch-Irish influenced American auctioneering patter for a long time, thinking that a new piece could explore the rhythm, timing and incessant use of the I6/4 chord as it is used in "bidcalling," the constant stream of bidding and negotiating heard at auctions. This piece, Bid Call is an exercise in auctioneers’ styles, pitches, timing, and intricate meters and rhythms.” Originally composed for saxophone and cello, the work was adapted by The Irrelevants and has been performed by them extensively.”

Libby Larsen is one of America’s most performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of over 400 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over twelve operas. Grammy Award winning and widely recorded, including over 70 CD’s of her work, she is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world, and has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory. “Music exists in an infinity of sound. I think of all music as existing in the substance of the air itself. It is the composer’s task to order and make sense of sound, in time and space, to communicate something about being alive through music.”


Produced by Glen Adsit, Tim Deighton and Carrie Koffman
Recording, Editing and Mastering Engineer: Scott Metcalfe
Tracks 1, 7, 8, 11 and 13: Recorded by Justin Kurtz
Assistant Engineers: Patrick Fiorillo and David Groener
Tracks 14, 15 and 16: Recorded at Millard Auditorium, The Hartt School, University of Hartford
All other tracks recorded at Berkman Recital Hall, The Hartt School, University of Hartford
Production Assistant on Bid Call: Sheri Brown
Design and Photography: Bill Morgan
Liner Notes: Tim Deighton and Carrie Koffman
Viola: Alan and Sarah Balmforth, Seattle, Washington, 1998

Partial funding was provided by the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at the Pennsylvania State University, and by the Women’s Education and Leadership Fund at the University of Hartford.

Permission to arrange, perform and record Prelude, Allegro and Pastorale by Rebecca Clarke granted by Oxford University Press.

Thank you to our spouses, Glen Adsit and Ann Deighton for their support of this project, and to our children, Noah Koffman-Adsit, and Sam and Ben Deighton for their patience. Thank you also to our students, from whom we learn something every day.



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