Mandango — five pieces played without pause — is the latest in my series of works celebrating the gay experience in all its diversity.
Same-Sex Marriage begins with fast, canonically-chasing lines, moves to a more lyrical middle section, then returns to the bustle of the opening when suddenly appears, chorale prelude-like, a quotation from a famous wedding march. This grows to a climax, then retreats. In the ensuing quiet, another familiar wedding march begins tentatively, then grows to an even grander climax. All the while the breathless music from the beginning swirls in joyous counterpoint.
LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) is based on notes derived from this acronym. L is la or A—G—B—T is ti or B. A, G, B, B, are the notes of the theme of the gentle opening section. The music wanders quickly through many keys — perhaps a musical equivalent of diversity. A more passionate middle section follows and leads to a recapitulation, then a tiny coda.
In Memoriam, A.C. The A.C. Initialized here is, of course, Aaron Copland — a dear friend and mentor. The notes and even the rhythm are derived from his name: A, A, C, A, D are the musical letters found there. The rhythm is dictated by the varying distances between each of these and the non-musical letters AAronCoplAnD.
Static and quietly tonal, this music moves in 16 measure units that go from slow to fast. These are punctuated by seemingly random forte chords. Only at the end, when, in tribute, Copland's famous Shaker melody is added, are these chords revealed as the tune's accompaniment. At the same time, in counterpoint, is heard Copland's motto, AACAD.
Mummification In the world of S/M, mummification means to mummify. That is, to completely wrap a person in some kind of tape (Saran Wrap will do!), place him in a quiet place, and allow him to have whatever experience he will. This short piece is a succession of slowly moving quarter-note chords. The dynamic level is always pianissimo. The mood is one of hushed tenderness. Only at the end, does the rhythm chance ? but gently.
Mandango At 11 minutes, this is the big piece of the set. Mandango is a gayish corruption of the word fandango — a tango-like dance of sensuality and sexiness. Along the way, there are points of musical interest. Each time the main theme reappears, the musical pulse quickens. At the start the music moves in quarter-notes — then in dotted-eighths — then sixteenths. Finally, it reaches a frenzy of still faster triplet sixteenth notes. Separating these gradually accelerating recapitulations are various contrasting sections, the most developed of these is a fugue.
Once the opening music has reached its frenzied, fastest tempo, it dissipates, then becomes background for a new contrasting theme — one more graceful and innocent. Soon, however, it is engulfed by the passionate theme — but not for long. This new theme returns in a more fully-developed cantabile section. This final section grows in intensity, comes to a climax, then spills over into a martellato rush of octaves that ends the piece in a blaze.
Each piece, except for In Memoriam, A.C., is dedicated to gay couples who are friends of mine: John Corigliano & Marc Adamo (1), Bill Crist & Gary DiPasquale (2), Stephen Morris & Elliot Kreloff (4), and Marc Peloquin & Seth Slade (5).