I composed Gazebo Music, for flute and cello, while participating in the composer/choreographer workshop at the American Dance Festival held at Duke University in Durham, NC in the summer of 1981. There was an intense heat wave, and we were housed in dorms at Duke University with no air conditioning. We would hang out on the fire escape until the heat index became bearable enough to sleep. On the plus side, the the workshop was led by composer Earle Brown, the musicians in residence were the stellar California E.A.R. Unit, and the choreographers were a delight to work with. And, while I had met Earle Brown when I was a composition fellow at Tanglewood, this provided an opportunity to interact with him on a daily basis. Thre other composers were a great bunch and included Anna Rubin and Robert Rodriguez.
Each week we composed a piece with a different choreographer. I composed Gazebo Music for a site-specific dance choreographed by Marguerite Fishman. We poked around all kinds of spaces before deciding on a beautiful gazebo. The musicians played in this sheltering gazebo while the dancers wended their way through the woods, peeked over the railing of the gazebo, and ended lying on the branches of a huge old magnolia tree. The piece is pastoral and intimate, though the premiere took place in heat that pressed heavily upon us. The intertwining of the flute and cello lines created its own musical choreography, and flutist Dorophy Stone and cellist Erika Duke- Kirpatrick performed in beautifully.
The roles of the instruments are mixed, matched, and inverted. The music, which begins with interlocking flute/cello chords, and lightens into scherzo-like hide-and-seek, ends with a wave-like rocking of interlocked seventh chords. Gazebo Music has since been played on numerous occasions, and was recorded by the Roxbury Chamber Players and, more recently, by Da Capo Chamber Players members, flutist Patricia Spencer and cellist Andre Emilianoff, on Dreamtigers, a CD of my chamber music. Gazebo Music was originally published by Arsis Press, a publisher founded in 1974 by Clara Lyle Boone to publish new and neglected music by women. As of August 1, 2022, it is available from Wendigo Music.