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DUO: Noir Vignettes | STACY GARROP


a composer with a story to tell

a composer with a story to tell

Noir Vignettes

I. Murder at Midnight
II. Loaded Gun
III. Femme Fatale
IV. Last Cigarette
Frant Duo; Łukasz Frant, cello, and Joanna Galon-Frant, piano


There are versions for cello+piano, double bass+piano, and tenor saxophone+piano.



University of Illinois Research Board on behalf of Michael Cameron for the Sonata Project.

Theodore Presser Company

In the mid-1940s, film critics in France noticed a trend emerging in movies from the United States, which they coined film noir (which translates to “black film”). These movies were dark, moody, and pessimistic, reflecting the agitation and anxiety present in society following World War II. Several characteristics are commonly found in many of these movies, including a strong but flawed male lead (often a detective or P.I.), a beautiful woman who either coerces the male lead into committing murder for her or is a killer herself (a “femme fatale”), and a twisting, turning plot line that involves one or more homicides. Additionally, there are several visual elements that these movies share: many are shot in black and white, with great emphasis on the use of shadows and light; alcohol and cigarettes are heavily consumed by men and women alike; and men typically wear trench coats and fedoras. Most of the story lines do not have happy endings. Examples of film noir include Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai, Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity, and John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon.

Noir Vignettes for double bass and piano consists of four movements, each depicting a different aspect of film noir: Murder at Midnight, Loaded Gun, Femme Fatale, and Last Cigarette. This piece was commissioned by the University of Illinois Research Board on behalf of double bassist Michael Cameron. The composer subsequently made an arrangement of the piece for cello and piano, as well as for tenor saxophone and piano.
  • HELIOS • 4’30” • 2 tpts/flugelhorns, hn, tbn, tba

    In Greek mythology, Helios was the god of the sun. His head wreathed in light, he daily drove a chariot drawn by four horses (in some tales, the horses are winged; in others, they are made of fire) across the sky. At the end of each day’s journey, he slept in a golden boat that carried him on the Okeanos River (a fresh water stream that encircled the flat earth) back to his rising place. The cyclic journey of Helios is depicted in this short work for brass quintet. The first half is fast-paced and very energetic, while the second half is slow and serene, representing day and night.