The Blazing Macaw for Piano and Fixed Media.

 

The Blazing Macaw is a work for piano and fixed media.  The work was written for Max Lifchitz and Thomas Bagwell.  Max Lifchitz planned to premiere it during his tour of Latin America.  While working on the piece, I had in mind the artist Frida Kahlo, especially her “Self Portrait with Bonito.”  What caught my attention in that painting was the parrot on her shoulder.  There was the obvious connection of parrot and “parroting” that I was incorporating in the piece for piano and fixed media; but what really struck me in the painting was that the parrot on Kahlo’s shoulder has a completely different, almost whimsical look on its face compared to the severe look of Kahlo’.  It seemed to me that the painting was a portrait of two equals rather than a portrait of Kahlo with a parrot, and I saw a tension between the parrot’s haughty look and Kahlo;s burdened personae.  When writing for instruments and fixed media, I am aware of the tension that such a combination produces.    There is always a buffer between the machine precision and the human time that results in a wonderful tension, that in my mind was reflective of the tension I observed in the painting.  The term “Blazing” refers to two things: the bright colors of harmony and choices of timbre and the buried passion just below the surface.