What’s in a Name?

The premiere recording at University of Iowa on September 10, 2023.

Most of my recent compositions have been composed using the names of the performers for whom the piece was written as seeds for the basic materials. While composing What’s in a Name? I was reflecting on the fact that all of the “name compositions” before this piece are solo works. I found that working with only a single name enabled highly abstract methods of working with the names as pitch-class sets or other constructions. As this piece uses the names of two performers, I decided to explore the possibilities for melodic or motivic (even thematic) treatments of the name. Basically, I wanted to use the names as unique flavors that are clearly distinguishable.

This process reminded me of a line from Act II, Scene II of Romeo and Juliet. (This line was on my mind because I use it as an example of analogy in my rhetoric class). Juliet is lamenting the fact that it is Romeo’s Montague heritage that is her enemy. During this dialogue, Juliet says:

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;


Caleb Estrada-Valentín – Flute
Hanna Rumora – Cello

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