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PROGRAM NOTES by the composer
Serenade to Eve, After Rodin for Flute and Guitar

SERENADE TO EVE, AFTER RODIN was commissioned by the duo of Eileen Grycky and Christiaan Taggart; the idea came from a multimedia performance fresh in mind when they approached me.

In October 1998, dancer/choreographer Anne-Marie Mulgrew invited me to perform as an improvising solo clarinetist to accompany her and 3 other performers from her dance company at Philadelphia's Rodin Museum. We were invited to perform in the outdoor garden, but luckily rain forced us inside, in front of Rodin's imposing Adam and Eve sculptures. Anne-Marie's choreography involved dancers taking postures and characters of Rodin's works, and the last-minute change into the gallery added extra drama to our performance, now in front of the sculptures themselves.

To integrate music and dance, I wore all-white like the other performers, plus a top hat as a French gentleman of Rodin's era might have, moving around the stage as part of the ensemble. The musical language was reminiscent of Debussy, Rodin's contemporary.

Rodin's larger-than-life sculptures of Adam and Eve being banished from Paradise added a bold dimension to our semi-improvised event. I found Eve's grief, terror, and shame overwhelming. I couldn't resist playing to Eve as much as to the live dancers, and found myself fascinated with serenading this tragic figure. Despite our rehearsed plans, in the middle of the performance I approached Eve and began playing to her in an almost courtly way, progressing from empathy to solace, trying to make the bronze sculpture smile. That was quite a challenge, but a very inspiring one.

This challenge of trying to cheer up the tragic Eve stayed with me vividly. Soon after, when Eileen Grycky and Christiaan Taggart asked me to compose a flute and guitar duo, I quickly decided to write a serenade to Rodin's Eve. The actual music of this duo is different from what was played at the museum, but the mood and progression capture the original improvisation.

The Taggart/Grycky Duo premiered this serenade on April 11, 1999 in West Chester, PA.

1) Bar 65 should read 8th note = c.120-126
2) At bar 295, the flute should be marked ff
3) The rehearsal mark for Bar 300 should be 5 bars later

last updated February 20, 2020