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Mark Adamo

Publisher: G. Schirmer

August Music (for 2 flutes and string quartet) (2009)
G Schirmer Inc
Works for 2-6 Players
Sub Category
Mixed Ensemble
Year Composed
14 Minutes
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Programme Note
Mark Adamo August Music (for 2 flutes and string quartet) (2009)

Related works:
   August Music for 2 flutes and string quartet
   August Music for 2 flutes and string orchestra

Ingmar Bergman explains the title of his 1955 comedy Sommarnattens leende (Smiles of a Summer Night) in a signal line of dialogue. Upright in her wheelchair, an aged doyenne tartly observes to her footman that the summer night smiles three times: once, for the fools, who know nothing: once for the lovers, who know too little; and lastly for the old, who — like herself — know too much. In August Music, I've reversed the order of the smiles — the gleeful fools have the last word — and saluted that worldly doyenne by renaming her movement for her wisdom, rather than her age. Otherwise, these three brief portraits — rueful, rapt, and headlong by turns — are meant both as a salute to that rich film and as a gift to Sir James and to Lady Jeanne Galway. Fools they are not, but I know few musicians (or spouses) at once so loving and so wise.

— Mark Adamo

Adamo took his inspiration for his “August Music” from Ingmar Bergman’s movie, “Smiles of a Summer Night,” and its three brief movements represent the smiles: The Wise, The Lovers and The Fools. The string quartet collaborated with flutists Bowman and Perlove for the work’s first performance. It was instantly engaging, by turns pointed and lyrical, with mild dissonances adding spice. Adamo, whose third opera, “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene,” will be premiered by San Francisco Opera this spring, is a gifted composer of melody. The flutists had a charming theme accompanied by pizzicato strings in the first movement, and in the second, the flutes were set against a shimmering backdrop. The finale was a perpetual motion, with virtuosic flourishes for the soloists. The two flutists gave it a beguiling reading, Bowman with a big silvery sound, and Perlove’s more golden and mellow.
Janelle Gelfand,,01/10/2012
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