The Name of the Game

for Solo Guitar and Eleven Players

Richard Wernick

Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

The idea for "The Name of the Game" originated with David Starobin. I had already composed a short dance piece for solo guitar entitled "Da?ase", one of a group of brief pieces written by an eclectic group of 18 composers, and ultimately recorded by Mr. Starobin. A short time after, Mr. Starobin asked me to compose another short piece, and the result was "Trochaic Trot".

At first, I found writing for this modern-day descendant of the lute somewhat intimidating what with its rather eccentric tuning system, but I soon discovered that an expert performer, willing to offer even minor suggestions for changes, can do wonders with a composer who is somewhat out of his milieu. I was immensely flattered when Mr. Starobin followed these two brief essays into the world of guitar with a request for a much grander piece?a concerto for guitar and a chamber ensemble of my choosing. The result is "The Name of the Game", commissioned by the Network for New Music.

But where to begin and how to get started? I love to develop musical materials from all sorts of games and puzzles, some of my own invention, but also heavily based on musical puzzles that grew out of the ?tradition.? Since Mr. Starobin?s name was not Bach, the B-A-C-H option that so many other composers had used was closed off to me. But there are, in fact, deliciously useful letters in his name, and so?"The Name of the Game" ended up being a two-movement concerto based on the letters of Mr. Starobin?s name. The musical material for the whole piece is derived from the following upper case letters: DaviD S(=e flat)T(=b natural)AroB(=b flat)in [D, A, D, E flat, B, A, B flat]. The title of the whole piece, rather than simply "Concerto for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra", is "The Name of the Game". The first movement is titled ?The Name is the Game? and the second movement is ?The Game is the Name.? The selected pitches and their harmonic, motivic and polyphonic implications are ubiquitous throughout the work?s 20-minute duration.

Although the work is cast as two discrete movements, with a conventional break between them, in fact the form is somewhat more complex. Slow music evolves into fast music and vice versa. Scherzando passages are melded into those of a more introspective nature, so that the two movements, in actuality, are more like three or four, if one wanted to unravel them one from the other.

Available on Rental

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Network for New Music with support from the Philadelphia Music Project funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, administered by Settlement Music School, along with the generous assistance of Jerome & Fanchon Apfel.
Composition Date 2001
Duration 00:20:00
Orchestration Solo Guit.; 1(dbl. AltoFl.) 0 1(dbl.B.Cl.) 1 - 1 0 0 0; 2Perc. Hp. Str. (
Premiere October 21, 2001 Network for New Music Jan Kryzwicki, conductor David Starobin, soloist--------


I. The Name is the Game
II. The Game is the Name

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