For mandolin and tuba
Program notes for "Preludes, Puzzles and Postludes" by Dennis Kam
There are two versions of Preludes, Puzzles and Postludes (1998). Composed for Bill Walach and Gary Buttery, the first version is only for a mandolin and tuba duet. The second version is an expanded one, with the addition of a chamber instrumental accompaniment.
Generally, this work is a set of pieces connected by similar or related musical material. Introduced in the Prelude, this material becomes developed or transformed in Puzzle 1&2 and Postlude. "Center" pieces, Puzzles 1&2, separated by an Interlude, represent an interest in fixed or similar material displaced and shifted around in time, contributing to another version of the same whole. I call this contextual novelty – where the mixture, juxtaposition, or overlapping of seemingly contradictory musical material – create "ear twisting" situations for the listener. In this larger and expanded chamber instrumental version, contextual novelty becomes even more pronounced with the fanciful addition of novel elements in other instruments.