(from Suite Latino-Americana)
This composition has a huge emotional meaning to me. It started out as a composition that I was writing about my mother, but life had other plans. When I decided to write a flute and guitar piece, I did it with the intention of competing against the popularity of Piazzola’s “Historie du Tango”, which is a towering achievement as a composition for flute but especially for guitar. Therefore, if I intended this piece to have any future, I knew that the guitar part should be extremely well written so that any classical guitarist would be interested in playing it. I never would have been able to write it without the help of a really wonderful person, Alberta Khoury.
For those of you who are not familiar with composition, guitar is the most difficult instrument to write for if you are not a guitarist yourself. The mere amount of possible combinations for chords goes beyond my comprehension at least and the fact that there are six strings means that a simple melody could be played in a million different ways. Since most of the important classical guitar repertoire was written by guitar-composers, most famous piece that you come across will inevitably be extremely well suited for the instrument, making music that is unidiomatic to the instrument unapproachable. Originally, this piece had been written in Db major, a key that is totally foreign to the guitar and I just did not understand why a guitarist would run away screaming after seeing that key signature.
Alberta is a world-class guitar virtuoso and when I worked on the piece with her I knew that if there were things she couldn’t do, it was best to eliminate. Getting her to read the piece in its original key was hard, her brain simply rejected the abundance of flats, so I decided to give in and put it in D major, a wonderfully comfortable key for the instrument and everything suddenly became a lot easier. It’s funny how composers can get so attached to things that don’t really matter compositionally, it took a lot to convince me to change the piece to D major. After that important change, the collaboration became really smooth and creative.
She and I would shoot an endless amount of ideas at each other and we both got really invested in the piece. Those sessions have been some the most rewarding of my entire career. This piece became something of a hymn for our relationship, we had begun dating in September of 2019, and we worked on it tirelessly until we finally recorded in December of that year. That recording is one of the best I have ever done because it was truly done admits love and true commitment to the music, and you can definitely hear it. Alberta and I would eventually end our relationship, but this piece will always remain a symbol for young romance that will never fail to take me back to my time with her. The SoundCloud file has the picture of a Talavera tile (Mexican pottery) with a bird on it. I used to call Alberta “little bird” and it will always be the song that I wrote for her that she sang back at me.