11 July 2009

Subject & Operation

It’s not exactly the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata emerging through the intensity of the Shostakovich Opus 147. We may take that as read.

From the outset, the new flute-&-clarinet duet was intended for an energetic bagatelle. And, in the case of the fancifully climactic contrapuntal finale, there is enough modification to the source-material, that (probably) no one would mark it for a ‘quotation’ without foreknowledge.

The original is in triple meter, and presented as a melody stated over a static bass and a single chord (changing at a few key points in the extended tune) in the harpsichord keeping the beat.

I have altered it to quadruple meter; I’ve played rather fast with local rhythmic values; and made it a strict canon with the flute answering at a compound perfect fifth higher (the score is transposed, and the clarinet is in A).

In significant part, to my surprise—I am very pleased with the result. And in fact, I am not sure that I had ever composed a strict canon before this. (And I reckon that since I have here made use of an outside source, we should perhaps consider this canon constructed rather than composed.) One almost incidental detail which I enjoy: the opening phrase is marked with a repeat; and I have ‘composed out’ the repeat in such a way that when the beginning returns, it is mid-measure rather on beat 1. Just one geeky composerly touch.

[ click to enlarge image ]

1 comment:

dfan said...

I recognized the source material right away! (In fact I looked at the score excerpt before reading the post and immediately thought "Wait, isn't that...?")

It's always good to see serious composers paying attention to him.