THE MUSIC OF DENNIS KAM FOR STRING QUARTET & PIANO
Dennis Kam composer
SEVERAL TIMES is an impressive collection spanning over four decades of the composer’s career. Though artistic development is present throughout the larger timeline of the album, each composition demonstrates innovative approaches to time and repetition. These innovations reflect a desire to not only learn and understand time, but master it.
String Quartet No. 1 and String Quartet No. 2 may have been composed 20 years apart from each other, but Dr. Kam’s approach to each composition shares a nucleus: repetition. The differences are subtle at first. The former employs a non-tonal, modernist arrangement reminiscent of 1960s post-Webern music, while the latter focuses more on pitch centricities and implied tonal relations. Dr. Kam’s cyclical patterns generate a sound distinctly his own.
Similarly, Sonata No. 1 and Sonata No. 2 share a unique approach to time while retaining their identities in pitch orientation. At only eight years apart, the two sonatas sound closely related, yet each carries a unique motion that draws one into the breathtaking piano performance. The arresting compositions compel listeners to work out the intricacies of time and repetition — if they can.
As timeless as Dr. Kam’s compositions are to himself, so too are they to listeners. Whether you consider String Quartet No. 1 from the mid-60s to D-Bop: Sonata No. 2, the compositions characterize the unique style of Dr. Kam from his past to present, and hint at what is to come in the future.