For a composer who is used to painting on a canvas supplied and defined by others - film directors, editors, and others a freestyle assignment such as the Cantilanae can be a liberating experience, a breath of fresh air.
Derived from the Latin word for "song," cantilena connotes smooth and sustained lyric styling in vocal or instrumental music. Here, the guitar is doing the "singing" as the three Cantilenae depict different musical styles and idioms from Europe and the USA.
In the mid-90s, I accepted a commission to write an orchestral piece for a prominent Scandinavian guitarist, Kaare Norge. The result was Cantilena hispanica and Cantilena britannica - songs from Spain and Britain. Utilizing well-known folk music idioms, I created the melodic material as free pastiches on Moorish/Spanish and Medieval English traditions. Prompted by Frank Koonce, I more recently had the opportunity to revisit the Cantilanae and expand the concept. I decided to approach americana in the same manner as I had done with the European styles. This is the deep-down South meeting sophisticated Manhattan; it is Stephen Foster and the Gershwins, root beer and Long Island ice tea at the same table.
Above all, it has been fun, a real thrill-ride, to complete the little saga of the Cantilanae.