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I have created this site in order to provide performers, listeners and composers with a description of a composer's experiences with the creative process. The posts will provide discussions of the inspirations, challenges, and successes of a composer from the inception of the piece to the culmination in performance. I will provide a link to where you can see and hear the works in progress. Comments and questions are always welcomed. They will not posted unless you grant me permission.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Der Fledermaus Fantasy for Clarinet and Piano

I have been working on this composition while I am working on Divertissement, so this post interrupts my posting regarding that composition. I am writing Der Fledermaus Fantasy for Melissa Garner Koprowski, a wonderful clarinetist who recently won the International Clarinet Association's Young Artist Competition. We went through several ideas regarding a composition for her before settling on this idea as Melissa loves to play operatic pieces.

This Fantasy is modeled after Sarasate's "Carmen Fantasy"as it uses themes from the opera and expands upon them in order to show off the solo instrument. I essentially used the overture and inserted Rosalinde's Csardas in the middle of it. After entering all the notes from the piano/vocal reduction and deciding what parts to give the solo clarinet, I went through the entire score to find the best key regarding ease of technique and best sounding range. The overture was mostly in A, D, G, and E major with the Csardas in B minor. I ended up using Eb, Ab, Db, and Gb for the overture and Bb minor for the Csardas. At measure 497, I inserted another modulation to put the piece back into Eb for the ending.

Once the keys were settled, I then worked on elaborating on Strauss. Almost all the elaborations occurred in the clarinet part. but I did add some things to the piano as well. This was fun piece to work on because the melodies are so lyrical and playful. I was careful in my elaborations to retain the character of Strauss, but to make the piece more like a clarinet solo.

While composing this piece, I encountered a problem with the Sibelius playback that I never encountered before. The first half of the piece is fine, but starting with the Csardas, Sibelius had difficulty playing repeated notes. Any sustained repeated note following a shorter note would not be sustained. I was able to overcome this problem by using articulation but all the material following the Csardas  sounds rhythmically spastic. Sibelius is fine when I play other files so I am wondering if it had trouble with all the fermatas in the Csardas. As you listen, just be aware that some of the uneven rhythm is not intentional.

To see and hear what I have discussed, go to http://www.cooppress.net/Der_Fledermaus_Fantasy_blog.html. You will be viewing a transposed score.

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Dr. B

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