Our duo was formed for the 2007 Cologne Music Triennial (MusikTriennale Köln) series “Solos for duos, improvisation from yesterday and today” (Solo für Zwei, Improvisation gestern und heute). Festival yentas matched six Early Music specialists with six New Music specialists. Each pair played similar instruments. Harpsichord and piano. Medieval organ and analog synthesizer. The beauty of pairing theorbo and guitar is that neither musician is channeled into the role of accompanist or soloist. Either can supply bass, chords, melody, or musical noise. Roles can change instantly and seamlessly or can disappear entirely.
The music on this CD was composed for the Triennale. The first four tracks on this CD are from a suite in which each movement is a setting of a short conversation that I imagined. Each conversation is laid over a static musical framework. As with other literary works I have set – plays by David Mamet and Samuel Beckett – each word has a corresponding pitch and rhythm. On our scores I omitted the words; sheet music for fretted instruments bulges with fingering and position markings and can’t tolerate more clutter.
The single-movement piece, “what we talk”, slices-and-dices motives together asynchronously. Each performer shapes his phrases freely while following both parts and reacting to his partner’s interpretation. All of the material I wrote melds composed and improvised elements. And in all of the compositions melodic material floats organically over a steady pulse. In the suite the pulse is overt and in “what we talk” it is implied. This practice is common in Early Music and much of my work as well.
Scott Fields, Cologne, June 2008
Scott Fields and Stephan Rath
what we talk
 Mister Knowitall kibitzes without mercy 08:12
 The very moment I saw your facebook page I just knew we are soulmates forever 09:04
 Again with the seventeen dollars? 05:51
 Grief like this I don’t need 17:32
 what we talk 22:56
total time: 64:04
All compositions by Scott Fields
Scott Fields, guitar
Stephan Rath, theorbo
On this recording Scott Fields plays a 1999 Robert Ruck guitar and Stephan Rath plays a 1988 Hendrik Hasenfuss 14-string theorbo, after an instrument of Tieffenbrucker/Edlinger.