DIALOGUE OF EQUALS
In no manner would one ever consider this “Dialogue” sonata form. This work was not devised for a single instrument with the traditional piano accompaniment. Inherent in the title, Dialogue of Equals is a conversation between two equal and committed voices. It is a fair and balanced discourse in which each voice is given its full measure of expression, with ample and eclectic response by the other. This is a deep discussion weighted with richly satisfying, emotional exchange, filled with musical rebuttals, remorseful assent and inner sadness which seeps musically to the surface. This is a “work” in the most literal sense, a dialogue wrought with penetrating questions, prying issues, and a sense of revelation as these two voices encourage each other's hidden admissions. Two voices committed to discourse, they experiment with a wide range of musical parley, often returning to a minimal and definitive repetition of these thoughts, of chromatic flowing notes, as if these colorful arpeggiated sequences are keys to uncovering their deepest secrets. One ponders one’s own inner most thoughts and wonders. This is a work of great query. It is a musical question to all of us who allow ourselves to be touched by music. It asks so many questions, so many relentless responses that beg for more insight.
Michael David Singer and Chia-Ling Chien are a wonderfully matched pair of voices for this work. Chien’s gorgeous tone and amazing clarity in the midst of an avalanche of notes is remarkable, a testimony to why she commands a prominent post in the inner circle of principal strings at the San Diego Symphony. Singer brings to this work a performance of extraordinary depth and character, with lush coloring, making the piece seem quite facile, though it clearly is a work of enormous intensity for both players.
What is inside the mind of Michael David Singer as he begins to commit this conversation to notes, devoting such enduring energy to this remarkable and singular work? Clearly there is a need to push this dialogue to the surface and share it with the world. Michael has a polished sense about his art, a desire to express something deeply and fully. As both a composer and musician, Michael demonstrates a vast appreciation for the expansive traditions of piano literature and a surprising awareness of the outer bounds of a cellists’ technical and emotional range, utilizing an array of recognizable musical devices with a rich articulation all his own. In this “Dialogue” he offers an insight into his own reality, one characterized by the drive to achieve, balanced by a lone vision, seeking his own depths in quiet exploration. Not unlike his chamber works, Breath of Life, (written in 2004), “Dialogue” offers an opportunity to experience something very personal and deeply emotional.
Del Mar, California