Carmen Maret is a performer and composer whose twenty-year career in classical music shows her adventurous approach to playing and writing for the flute. Known for her rhythmic interplay and her streamlined approach to flute tone, Maret integrates tango, jazz, world music, and improvisation into her aesthetics. “As a flutist, Maret displays nuanced virtuosity across all styles” (Flutist Quarterly).
How did the concept for Heartdance evolve?
Folias Duo had the idea for an album called Heartdance for three years, ever since Andrew Bergeron wrote his set of pieces based on the life cycle of the dragonfly. Upon our first listen to the MIDI realization of the “Dragonfly” pieces I think we both knew these were special, music that would be appealable and beautiful for an audience to listen to, but also very engaging and challenging for us as players. The four movements “Aquatic,” “Molting,” “Flying,” and “Heartdance,” are compositions that are going to age well. We know we can perform, study and grow with them for years to come–a set of dream pieces for classical musicians, really.
The other compositions on the Heartdance album we developed during the 40+ live streams we’ve presented since the pandemic. For two years we had a push to write and present our own music twice a month, an unexpected gift for us as composer-performers.
Our music is an anomaly. We don’t play the classics of European music, but we love to combine techniques of tonal and atonal music theory as I do in my piece “Meadow Dream” inspired by the music of pianist and composer Alexander Scriabin. We aren’t folk musicians, however, most of our music is inspired in some way by folkloric music, as I do with my piece “Looking Glass” inspired by Argentine music or the two African flute (tambin) pieces “Dance of the Foxes,” and “Forgotten Peach Blossoms,” an adventurous undertaking by Andrew, his first compositions for this unique three-holed flute from Guinea. It would be a stretch to call us jazz musicians, but we venture into descriptive, improvisatory music in an odd meter (⅞) in the piece “Nighthawk” a piece we wrote together about an experience we had with a pair of nighthawks.
What was your recording process like?
We recorded the album at Sono Luminus Studios in Boyce, Virginia with two other collaborators: producer Dan Merceruio and engineer Daniel Shores. We recorded our previous two Folias Music releases (“Dreaming to Live” and “Delicate Omens”) with Merceruio and Shores, and we’re so grateful as independent artists to have a team we can return to that we trust with our music. I would call Daniel Shore and Dan Merceruio a “ninja team,” probably one of the best for classical recording. Their immersive audio/production work with the Iceland Symphony and Icelandic composers is some of the most inspiring and innovative stuff out there for “classical” music right now.
What did you like best about your project Heartdance?
The music on this album tells the story of Folias Duo’s twenty-year artistic odyssey and life partnership. Our connection is a kind of “heartdance.” At our concerts, people often ask us, “You compose, perform, and travel together, live and work as musicians and teachers…and you’re married! How do you do it?”
Connecting with nature is one way Andrew and I keep sight of what’s truly important. Every summer, as we drive across the country to perform in intimate, self-booked venues, we cook our food and sleep at campgrounds in a tent. We schedule breaks to compose new music in rustic cabins in remote settings along the way. Our minimalist approach to touring and composing ultimately facilitates a deeply collaborative relationship that inspires our creative process.
What did you find the most challenging?
Patience is the most challenging aspect of writing, playing, and releasing original music. Writing and playing your own music takes a lot of time!
The album's first four tracks are Andrew's musical interpretation of the dragonfly's life cycle. These compositions, titled "Aquatic," "Molting," "Flying," and "Heartdance," portray the ancient organism's journey from an aquatic insect in its early years to its final mating formation in the shape of a heart, a flying valentine. The guitar grooves in odd meters embody the movements of the dragonfly, while the interlocking dance hooks in the flute are derived from the Argentine chacarera and the Basque zortziko. Since we began performing these pieces, audience members have shared their own dragonfly stories with us, affirming the power of instrumental music to connect people through storytelling.
In "Meadow Dream," I wanted to capture s a sense of mysticism from two musical sources: the "mystic chord" of Alexander Scriabin and a quote from the song "Pure Imagination," specifically the lyrics, "if you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it."
We wrote "Nighthawk" collaboratively, using a tag-team approach to composing. We handed the piece back and forth until it took shape, with one rule: we could erase whatever the previous person wrote! We created something mysterious, like the bird itself, and knew we were on the right path when a pair of nighthawks showcased booming dives around us on a twilight evening walk at a composing cabin in 2019.
I wrote the piccolo and guitar piece "Looking Glass" in Oregon's Blue Mountains during a week of studying Argentine music and hiking in the wilderness. As a flute and guitar duo, we are familiar with Argentine music and the compositions of Astor Piazzolla (as is probably the case with most flute and guitar duos). With this piece, we celebrate the musical threads that flow through most of our compositions.
The final two tracks showcase my tambin, a fascinating handmade three-holed flute from Guinea, West Africa. Drafted in rustic cabins in Michigan's Upper Peninsula during the summer of 2021, Andrew's compositions took shape after we watched Akira Kurosawa's Dreams, an anthology film depicting vignettes of recurring dreams the director had throughout his life. "Procession of the Foxes" depicts a dream with magical foxes dancing at a wedding in the woods, while the final track, "Forgotten Peach Blossoms," portrays a felled orchard being brought back to life by spirit-possessed Japanese dolls.
Heartdance Album Info - Official Release, May 5, 2023
Preorder link: https://www.foliasmusic.com/product/heartdance/
Dragonfly - Andrew Bergeron
1. Aquatic 4:22
2. Molting 4:02
3. Flying 6:27
4. Heartdance 6:19
Alchemy - Bergeron/Maret
5. Meadow Dream 7:00
6. Nighthawk 7:41 (alto flute and guitar)
7. Looking Glass 4:36 (piccolo and guitar)
Dream Dances Andrew Bergeron
8. Procession of the Foxes 6:41 (tambin and guitar)
9. Forgotten Peach Blossoms 6:46
Total Time: 53:54
All compositions by Bergeron and Maret published by Folias Music ASCAP
Carmen Maret: flute, alto flute, piccolo, tambin
Andrew Bergeron: guitar
Recorded January 3 - 5, 2023 at Sono Luminus Studio in the 110-year-old former Emmanuel Episcopal Chapel in rural Boyce, VA
Production and editing by Dan Merceruio
Engineered and mastered by Daniel Shores
Cover, photos and design by Carmen Maret
Artwork commissioned by Folias Music: “Dragonfly” by David McKie, “Cabin” by Gregg Bruff, “Nighthawk” by Alina Poroshina
Thanks to everyone who continues to listen to our music. This album is a musical expression of living life to the fullest every day, right next to the people we love.
Official Videos for Singles from the album
Looking Glass: https://youtu.be/2_-73my8C0g
Singles on Spotify Song Links