double|entendre (2015)

2 guitars
7 min.
Published by Fennica Gerhman

I’ve always loved the expression double entendre. While common in English, it has no meaning whatsoever in its source language, being a corruption of an old French term that is no longer used. Therefore, in this piece I decided to translate it literally – “to hear double” – and put it into practice as a compositional device in a kind of postminimalist listening/counting game for young musicians. (The title is also a mild parody of naming conventions in a certain kind of new music.) Beginning with simple, syncopated exchanges of a two-note motif in bell-like harmonics, the piece grows into a more complex and rhythmically tricky back-and-forth, before ending in an upbeat scale study. The two partners share the musical material absolutely equally; there is no challenge given to one that the other can avoid (not without cheating, at least). The aim, in the end, is for two people to become so closely interconnected that they sound like one.

double|entendre was commissioned by the Juvenalia Music Institute in Espoo, Finland, for its 2017 chamber music competition.