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Imagined Archipelagos (2012)

For Violin and Piano

18 minutes

Imagined Archipelagos is now part of Francesca Anderegg's new album Wild Cities, available from New Focus Recordings.

Q2 Music's review of Wild Cities here.

Lucid Culture's review of Wild Cities here.

Performances at National Sawdust in Brookyln, NY, the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series, Chicago, IL, Interlochen Arts Camp, Spectrum (NYC), St. Olaf College, Fairmont Chamber Music Series, etc.

I.   The Island of Many Calendars

II.  The Island of the Imaginary Moons
III. The Island at Noon
IV. The Island of the Imaginary Birds

Program note:

The initial idea behind Imagined Archipelagos was to write a series of short pieces for violin and piano each inspired by a particular aspect of the Mayan culture. The first movement written was originally titled Tzolkin, after one of the Mayan calendars that consists of 13 months of 20 days each. Different musical phrases consisting of 13 and 20 notes unfolded at different rates between the violin and the piano. The next movement became a depiction of the Mayan godess Ix Chel, one of the few and most important female deities in their pantheon.


By the time I started working on the other movements, my interests had become more far-reaching. The last movement turned out to be a dazzling Venezuelan dance that obstinately repeats the same chord progression, but the two instruments are never completely aligned.

The piece has a distinctly “American” (as in covering the whole American continent)feel, but it became obvious that it could no longer be contained within the initial Mayan umbrella. Inspired by the writings of Nobel Prize winning poet Derek Walcott from Saint Lucia, I came upon the metaphor of the archipelago where each of the pieces would constitute an individual unit, an island, but that all of the islands would in turn be joined together below the surface of the water. 


Imagined Archipelagos becomes more than the sum of its parts, just like many of the greatest things to come from the American continent, inhabiting that paradoxical space where things are new and old, simple and complex, familiar and surprising.

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