Converse Anthony Gilbert

Converse cover
9 mins

Solos, Duos & Trios Duos

1 Bass Clarinet in B-flat, 1 Tenor Saxophone

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Score and part ISMN 57036-173-1 £24.00 Buy now

duologue for tenor saxophone and bass clarinet

Programme note

In memoriam Mátyás Seiber

Some 52 years ago I embarked on a sequence of composition lessons with Mátyás Seiber, then one of the two outstanding teachers of composition in Britain.  Two-and-a half years later, in September 1960, he lost his life in a motor accident in South Africa. 

This piece, written in his memory, incorporates all the main techniques I learnt from him, chiefly through analysis of classical sonatas and Bach’s Two-part Inventions, but applies them in a way which reflects our animated conversations, in which I argued for a converse, more diverse approach.

So Converse is a two-part invention in one-movement sonata form, with exposition of two closely-related subjects – the second being highly unstable –  a development, often through conversion by inversion, embracing a volatile Scherzo followed by an unorthodox Passacaglia, and finally a calm recapitulation and close.

If there seem to be echoes of a jazz or blues idiom, this is possibly a reflection of the fact that before coming to England, Seiber taught Europe’s first ever jazz classes at the Hoch-Conservatorium in Frankfurt.