Welcome to my blog

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.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Divertissement - III. Valse for bassoon and piano

This third movement came over very easily for bassoon and piano. I did not need to change the key as I did in the first two movements as taking it down 2 octaves and putting it in bass clef suited the bassoon range and tessitura well. The only thing I needed to be concerned with was loosing the percussion part which was all bass drum in this movement.

This movement is a humorous valse (waltz) and the bass drum added to the humor by being on beats other than the strong beat of the measure. I was able to just eliminate the bass drum because the syncopations in the bassoon and piano still left the piece with the feeling of an awkward waltz. There were a few measures where the bass drum played alone. Measures 51 and 54 are 4/4 measures where the bass drum played on all four beats. I found the the silence for all four beats worked very well and I did not neat to add anything. The other spot was measures 108-109 where the bass drum had a triplet figure that diminuendoed. I created a similar figure for the bassoon and that solved the problem.

I chose bassoon and piano for this movement because of the humorous flavor. I also slowed the tempo down a notch to make the waltz a little more lumbering.

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

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Dr. B

1 comment:

Bret Pimentel said...

Hi Sy,

This might be my favorite movement so far. I love the playful character, and I think the 4/4 measures of rest are wonderful--hearing it this way, it's actually hard for me to imagine the bass drum having ever been present.

One issue I've run into as a bassoonist is the way a piano tends to really swallow up the bassoon's sound. I wonder if some passages here where the bassoon and piano left hand are so near to each other (and even crossing each other) may obscure the melodic line (or is that the intention?). In a conventional piece for bassoon and piano, this can be mitigated somewhat by opening the piano lid only halfway, or even closing it altogether, but that may be impractical due to the changing solo voice in this piece.

As with the Intrada, there is some additional headroom in the upper register here, should you decide you want it. Notes up to at least the second C above the bass staff are de rigueur for bassoonists, and have a sort of English-horn-like quality (think Rite of Spring). Those highest notes, incidentally, are frequently written in tenor clef.

One more thing that I couldn't help noticing: that final A from the bassoon feels to me a little like it belongs another octave lower. As you are aware, the bassoon's standard range falls short of that A by a semitone, but bassoonists have been known to use a cardboard tube or piece of plastic pipe as an extension. (The Nielsen wind quintet, notably, calls for a low A from the bassoon.) The extension makes it impossible to play the low B-flat, but you haven't called for any low B-flats here. Besides, the rests at mm. 106-107 might give just enough time to insert an extension at the last moment (especially since the D-flat and F preceding the rest, and the D following it, are all played with the left hand alone).

I'm thrilled with how the Divertissement is shaping up, and can't wait for the next installment!