Introductory notes from the composer:
During the 1980s, commission and circumstance led me to compose these four duos. Since I have always employed a wide variety of styles and aesthetics in my work, each of these pieces has its own distinct and different center that can truly be enjoyed only from that perspective. Variation Duos is an abstract work about musical sound itself - the interplay of timbre, rhythm, and extended performance techniques. In contrast, Paraphrase Duos was composed with existing musics, using my own, sometimes devious, means. Ducky Duos is the only set of musical miniatures or epigrams I have ever made. Sad Songs and Twisted Dances lives within the oft dark and cynical realms of bebop.
Each of these works features virtuosity in one form or another; all have quite demanding parts. In no way are these mere simple duets (save the first two ducks). Of special delight to me is that this album is entirely home grown. All of these wonderful performers came from the Greensboro and Winston-Salem region of North Carolina.
Like all composers, I began music studies as a performer. My career progressed in both areas and I learned to comprehend music from the two different points of view. It was the symbiotic relationship between composition and performance that obliged me to make interesting and solid parts for the performers. This was further propelled by my enthusiasm for chamber music as well as all forms of counterpoint.
The duo is, of course, one of the most basic and fundamental formats for all musical performance. It is commonly found as solo with accompaniment, from songs to sonatas. In other types, the musical roles are equal. While some duos may be short and simple, others are obviously major musical works. Such pieces may exploit wide ranges of technique and expression and can exemplify pure chamber musicianship at its very best. In such a context, the performers are unencumbered by larger numbers, but there is no place to hide.