David Dzubinsky was born in 1964. He earned a D.M in Composition at Indiana University in 1991. He has received commissions from Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, the National Endowment for the Arts and another important recognitions. He also has received recent honors such as: Copland House and Djerassi fellowships, among many important others. His music is performed through the US, Asia, Europe, Canada, and Mexico. Actually he is chair of the Composition Department and Director of the New Music Ensemble at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Di/con[ver(gence/sions) for Saxophone Quartet was composed by Dzubinsky in 1988 and I was dedicated to Sonny King who was a saxophone teacher at the high school he attended.
The title alludes to the words: divergence, convergence, diversions, and conversions. It is not clear if it is because of the rhythm, harmony, melody or form; but he used those terms conceptually within the concept of the music. All the terms are seen as a vital part for the piece since each movement has thematic titles.
I will focus in the first movement of the piece which was called “Prologue-Lament.” The beginning starts with the “Prologue,” the four saxophones melodic lines maintain a homorhythmic texture which permits tensions and resolutions in this opening section with constant changes in the rhythm and dynamics. From measure 1 to measure 9 you can see that each saxophone part begins with a four note chromatic pattern with a fortissimo dynamic indication. This pattern happens twice in this movement. Harmonically there is an expansion of each melodic line from half steps to the minor thirds by measure 5, the rhythms in each line slow from 16 notes to 8 notes over a 5/8 measure as dynamic decrease to piano in the same passages. The constant changes in each melodic line of the saxophones represent the concept of “divergence” in the title. Later on by measure 11 this patter ends and start the concept of “convergence” which instead of expanding intervals outward to coincide with a decrescendo in dynamics and speed of the rhythm. With the unison in measure 12 starts the transition to the “Lament” in which the composer utilizes the 12-tone style. And the Lament expression is depicted in the music.”
Dzubinsky can be compared with Christopher Rouse who is an American composer (1949) that composed a piece called “Wolf Rounds” for wind ensemble; the specifically of the piece is that it is composed as the composer said: “my concept of the work was to introduce a series of “circular” musical ideas but that would repeat over and over until metamorphosing to a new idea that would be of different lengths so that their repeated overlaps would reproduce a constantly changing sonic landscape. Sometimes these ideas would repeat verbatim; at other times there would be gradual but constant development within each repetition. Some instruments would introduce new musics while others would continue repeat their material for a longer period of time before moving on to a new idea.” Definitedly Dzubinsky did not utilized this technique in Di/con[ver(gence/sions) for Saxophone Quartet which is more formal.
For me was interesting to see how Dzubinsky’s compositions involves the developing of small melodic-harmonic ideas and little by little he develops them into a larger formal structure.
Dzubinsky, David. Di/con[ver(gence/sions)]. Medfield, MA: Dorn Publications, c. 1990.
David Dzubinsky: http://pronovamusic.com/bio.html
Christopher Rouse: http://www.christopherrouse.com/biography.html