Diary of a Seducer II

Volume II: Guitar Duos

For Guitar Duet
Arshile Gorky (1904–1948): Diary of a Seducer (1945), oil on canvas

Notes to the Recording

A hand speaks. The guitar gives that hand a voice, a mode of speech, and so makes possible a kind of sign language for the hearing. Robert Martin’s Diary of a Seducer is a sequence of statements delivered by one or more of these speaking hands. The title of the work is taken from that of a painting by Arshile Gorky, but Martin’s interest was apparently not so much in the subject matter of that particular picture as in the general notion of what gives an abstract image wholeness and presence. How can the speaking hand be felt to have said something meaningful, to have said it completely, and to have said nothing redundant along the way? Here are thirty-six answers to that question.

They come in three books, the first comprising fifteen solo pieces, the second fifteen duets, the third six trios. How these answers are phrased, and what they say, is for the listener to discover. But we can all agree on the variety of expressive tones here. Wholeness and presence, for Martin, seem to bespeak particularity of mood and character. Each of these pieces is saying one thing (though it may be a complex and polyphonic thing), and saying it strongly.

Quasi-vocal melody is important to the effect of speech: the guitar is understood American-style, as associated with song, rather than Spanish-style, as having to do with dance. But, particularly in the duos and trios, the music begins to speak also in momentary effects of texture: in the use of harmonics, for example, or in the extraordinary chords that surface in the last two duos and, wildest of all, the penultimate trio. The duos and trios also explore the interplay of similarities slight-ly out of synchrony, as if the two or three hands were getting in the way of each other as each tried to say the same thing. Right at the end comes the most obvious example of this, in Escher-like multiple staircases of scale patterns getting faster and faster.

Here the music is starting to become public, but the essence of the set is intimate and private, and the title seems no accident. The speaking hand seduces the instrument and thereby the listening ear. And the pieces unfold like entries in a diary, given a general wholeness by the personality of the writer and the simple fact of succession. This diary was written, though, over a period of many more than thirty-six days. Each book carries the dateline “1981–1995 in hotels and on planes.”

—Paul Griffiths

Video

Robert Martin: Duos from Diary of a Seducer

Past Performances of Diary of a Seducer II

Date/TimeLocationArtist/Players
1996-04-21, 7:00 PMCabaret Concert at Cendrillon, New York, NY USAWilliam Anderson
1996-04-14, 7:30 PMWilde Auditorium, University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT USAAlan Spriestersbach
1996-10-20, 8:00 PMReisinger Auditorium, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY USAAnderson, Fader, Delpriora
1996-10-28, 8:00 PMChrist and St. Stephens Church, New York, NY USACygnus Ensemble (Anderson, Fader, Delpriora)
1997-01-25, 7:30 PMChrist and St. Stephens Church, New York, NY USACygnus Ensemble (Anderson, Fader, Delpriora)
1997-04-29, 8:00 PMGroningen Conservatory Hall, Amsterdam, HollandAnderson Fader Duo (Anderson, Fader)
1997-06-30, 8:00 PMMarshall Field Hall, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY USAWilliam Anderson
1997-07-10, 1:00 PMReisinger Auditorium, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY USAMark Rimple
1997-07-07, 3:00 PMMarshall Field Hall, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY USAWilliam Anderson
1997-06-30, 1:00 PMTitsworth Hall, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY USA

Marc Wolf, Martin Mendelt

1997-07-07, 7:00 PMMarshall Field Hall, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY USA

Marc Wolf, Martin Mendelt

1997-07-11, 7:00 PMMarshall Field Hall, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY USA

Marc Wolf

1997-07-12, 3:00 PMReisinger Auditorium, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY USA

Marc Wolf, Martin Mendelt

1997-08-01Polish National Radio, Warsaw, PolandWilliam Anderson
1997-07-18, 7:30 PMKrems Rathaus, Krems, AustriaWilliam Anderson
1997-07-20, 7:30 PMSchiffahrtsmuseum, Spitz, AustriaWilliam Anderson
1998-04-16, 7:00 PMPrivate Residence, Washington, DC USAThe Theater Chamber Players (William Anderson)
1998-04-17, 10:30 AMMartha's Table School, Washington, DC USAThe Theater Chamber Players (William Anderson)
1997-11-18, 8:00 PMMarshall Field Hall, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY USAMarc Wolf
1997-10-19, 3:00 PMPanacea Books, Port Chester, NY USAMarc Wolf
1998-01-31, 2:00 PMOcean County Library, Barnegat, NJ USAWilliam Anderson, Marc Wolf
1998-04-19, 3:00 PMBradley Hills Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC USAThe Theater Chamber Players (William Anderson)
1998-04-18, 7:30 PMEmbassy of the Republic of Hungary, Washington, DC USAThe Theater Chamber Players (William Anderson)
1998-05-21, 8:00 PMChrist and St. Stephens Church, New York, NY USAWilliam Anderson
1998-06-28, 4:30 PMWest Center Church, Bronxville, NY USAMarc Wolf
1998-12-03, 8:00 PMChrist and St. Stephens Church, New York, NY USAHans Wilhelm Kaufmann
1998-08-01Bremen Radio, Bremen, GermanyWilliam Anderson
1999-02-13, 7:00 PMFechin Institute, Santa Fe, NM USAMarc Wolf
1999-08-24, 7:00 PMHorikawa Gallery, Kobe, __ JapanAnderson, Fader, Delpriora, recording
1999-03-30, 8:00 PMMednarodne Festival Kitare, Cetrtek, SlovenijaWilliam Anderson
2000-02-26, 7:00 PMAfrican Art Museum, Tenafly, NJ USAWilliam Anderson
2000-01-28Composers Recordings, Inc. (CRI 838), New York, NY USAAnderson, Fader, Delpriora
2000-12-05, 7:00 PMPrivate Residence, Manhatten, New York, NY USARihan Yeh, James Hanna
2000-12-06, 3:00 PMCharles Myers Room, Manhatten School of Music, New York, NY USARihan Yeh, James Hanna
2000-12-12, 8:00 PMConcert Hall, Manhatten School of Music, New York, NY USARihan Yeh, James Hanna
2000-11-21, 8:00 PMCasa Museo “Andrés Segovia”, Linares, SpainWilliam Anderson
2001-04-10, 8:00 PMEllington Room, 400 West 43 Street, Manhatten, NY, New York, NY USAJames Hanna, Rihan Yeh
2001-04-25, 8:00 PMRiverside Church, 120 Claremont Avenue, NY, New York, NY USAJames Hanna, Rihan Yeh
2001-05-02, 8:00 PMCharles Myers Room, Manhatten School of Music, New York, NY USARihan Yeh, James Hanna
2001-05-01, 8:00 PMThe Chelsea Mercantile, Manhatten, NY, New York, NY USAJames Hanna, Rihan Yeh
2001-06-16, 7:30 PMPennington, NJ, Pennington, NJ USAWilliam Anderson
2001-10-23, 8:00 PMThe Chelsea Mercantile, Manhatten, NY, New York, NY USACygnus Ensemble, Anderson, Fader, Wolf (Anderson, Fader, Wolf)
2001-11-11, 5:00 PMThe Knitting Factory, New York, NY USACygnus Ensemble, Anderson, Fader, Wolf (Anderson, Fader, Wolf)
2001-11-15Sonic Boom 10, Knitting Factory Web Broadcast, New York, NY USACygnus Ensemble, Anderson, Fader, Wolf (Anderson, Fader, Wolf)
2001-11-20OrenFader.com Website, New York, NY USACRI recording
2002-07-26, 7:30 PMXI FestivalInternacional Guitarra, Málaga, Spain, Málaga, SpainWilliam Anderson
2002-09-22, 3:00 PMAfrican Art Museum, Tenafly, NJ USAWilliam Anderson
2003-09-17, 7:30 PMAaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, Flushing, NY CRI recording
2001-09-24, 7:30 PMUltan Recital Hall, Minneapolis, MN USATodd Tipton
2001-11-01, 8:00 PMAbbott Hall, Kleinpell Fine Arts Center, River Falls, WI USATodd Tipton
2002-01-31, 7:30 PMHalling Recital Hall, Mankato, MN USATodd Tipton
2002-04-21, 3:00 PMBrock Auditorium, Richmond, KY USATodd Tipton
2002-04-28, 8:00 PMNorthern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY USATodd Tipton
2002-04-08, 7:30 PMAnnuciation Church, Minneapolis, MN, Minneapolis, MN USATodd Tipton
2005-02-21, 8:00 PMIrasburg Town Hall, Irasburg, VT USAWilliam Anderson
2005-03-26United Methodist Church, Red Bank, NJ, Red Bank, NJ USAPatrick Durek
2001-08-26, 9:00 PMLive Webcast http://www.wmua.org/, Amherst, MA USACRI recording
2005-03-23Guitar Review, #130, magazine publication, New York, NY USAPresser publicaton
2001-09-09, 9:00 PMLive Webcast http://www.wmua.org/, Amherst, MA USACRI recording
2013-10-16, 7:00 PMTeatro of the Italian Academy, Columbia University, New York, NY USASheer Pluck Ensemble