Caliente, two pianos
for two pianos (2000-2001), 7′
Performed at the University of Southern California, Feb. 2002.
alternate version: Caliente, for piano and orchestra (The first piano part in the two-piano version is identical to the solo part in the orchestral version.)
I began sketching the initial ideas for Caliente while studying with Miguel del Aguila, my very first composition teacher. The piece owes much to his music and thus to Latin American dance music. Its main musical idea is the very catchy rhythm heard at the opening. After a short cadenza for the first piano and then a passage in which short ideas are tossed back and forth between the two performers, the rhythmic idea blooms into a chromatically descending melody. A second, more lyrical tune emerges later, based on the motive DSCH (that is, D, E-flat, C, B). This is a motive Dmitri Shostakovich used frequently–it’s based on his initials (transliterated into German note-names), but it works equally well for my name. In the music that follows, the main musical ideas are juxtaposed and combined in various ways, until finally the rhythmic idea takes over and tears itself apart in huge chords. The DSCH motive then returns briefly to bring the piece to a crashing close.