This set is the first of what has become a whole collection of small pieces—an opportunity to explore the delicate musical form of miniatures. The original group of six sets were written between 2009 and 2010, with each set of movements dedicated to a different instrumental combination.
The goal—in the spirit of Bonsai as a art form—is to convey a complete musical thought concisely and expressively, with great compactness and expressive power.
All of my Bonsai Sets I-VI are for duos, with the exception of V, which is written for three performers.
Set I was commissioned by my colleagues Duo Hermida-Ito for Guadalajara’s Guadalajara Festival de Mayo 2009, whose theme that year was Japan. It’s characterized by intensity and introspection, evident from the very beginning with a descending melodic gesture that passes from the cello to the piano. Each of the subsequent movements use the specific idiomatic techniques of each instrument and reflects them through different harmonic languages. In the seventh and final movement the descending melodic gesture returns, but now in an expanded form that persists to the end.