Night Triptych


The unmastered tracks on the upcoming album by American classical guitar ensemble DUO NOIRE. Produced by GRAMMY-winner Bill Coulter, the album features premiere recordings of newly commissioned works by six highly accomplished and diverse women composers from around the world: Clarice Assad, Courtney Bryan, Golfam Khayam, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Gity Razaz, and Gabriella Smith. 

  • 11:39
    Clarice Assad (Brazil): Latin GRAMMY-nominated composer Clarice Assad's HOCUS POCUS depicts cartoonish and magical conjurings of sound. ABRACADABRA showcases the myriad effects two guitars can produce, before morphing into beautiful arpeggios and percussion improvisation. SHAMANS has a haunting melody that gives way to mysterious and brooding spoon improvisations on guitar strings. KLUTZY WITCHES combines virtuosic melodic imitation and dark textures until a show-stopping conclusion. 
  • 9:35
    Mary Kouyoumdjian (USA/Armenia): Kouyoumdjian's evocative piece is about her recent visit to the ancient Lebanese mediterranean city of Byblos. The work contains atmospheric soft guitar tremolos over an eery backing track, a Middle Eastern dance that is increasingly deconstructed and modernized, and a chaotic section of virtuosically traded quintuplet scales and a furiously unleashed backing track. The players are instructed to simulate playing like they were on an oud, and they battle the backing track until they are overwhelmed by it.
  • 5:31
    Courtney Bryan (USA): The gospel and jazz infused duet written by Courtney Bryan is filled with incredible virtuosity and is profoundly soulful. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone) takes the listener through the multiple stages of a prayer she had made before writing the piece: Contemplative, Unsettled and Searching, Questioning and Hoping, a Prayer, Pursuing, Realization, Acceptance). Through extended use of harmonics and dense harmonies paired with flowing melodic ideas, the piece conveys a musical richness and depth that, at times takes on the feeling of an incredible jazz improvisation, and is always powerfully moving. 
  • 11:04
    Golfam Khayam (Iran): ECM Artist Golfam Khayam's Night Triptych is deeply introspective and meditative. She blurs the lines between jazz, new classical music, sound art and world music; with beautiful results. Night Triptych flows seamlessly from the first movement's spacious cross-string trills and atmospheric fingernail taps, which support gorgeous melodic fragments; to the second movement's violent percussive hits and scrapes with chop sticks and pencils; to the third movement's contemplative use of synchronized harmonics and lush harmonies. 
  • 10:50
    Gity Razaz (USA/Iran): The incredible counterpoint and expanded harmonic ideas of Gity Razaz reveal a true mastery of compositional craft reminiscent of figures like Henze and Walton, but flavored with her own modern aesthetic and rhythmic vibrancy. The Four Haikus are at times operatic and lyrical in their melodies, but also feature dazzling interplay between the two guitars: Constantly traded melodies and accompaniment figures, rhythmically unison scales, and beautifully rich textures. This all leads to a tour de force finale filled with an unrelenting rhythmic drive and virtuosic ensemble playing.
  • 9:03
    Gabriella Smith (USA): Loop the Fractal Hold of Rain is named after a poem Gabriella Smith wrote in her youth. Her piece follows the minimalist tradition of looped melodic and textural content. The results are an Americana infused piece with bluegrass grooves and riffs that are enhanced by funky and soulful slide guitar playing and harmonic syncopations. The finished product is a completely original and captivating sound in the minimalist tradition and the conclusion is an incredible dwindling to nothing with partial harmonics undergirding a beautifully simple lullaby-like melody.