Composer: Averitt, William
Mementos for bassoon and piano
by William Averitt (b. 1948)
I. Sentimental Night (with Waltzing)
II. Gaudy Dances
Mementos was commissioned by Ryan Romine for premiere at the 2013 IDRS conference in Redlands, California. It is quite conventionally organized into two contrasting movements, slow, then fast.
The first movement was originally composed in 2009 as a song for tenor and piano, setting james Joyce's gentle early poem, "Simples". The 1914 poem appears to be an innocent lyric, descriptive of a quiet domestic scene, as Joyce observes his 7 year-old daughter Lucia in a moon-lit garden; however, there is a curiously eerie quality about the poem's apparent serenity. My setting, now re-scored for bassoon and piano, is romantic, a bit antiquated, frequently sounding almost as though it could have been written at the time the poem was. Often Mahler-like, it keeps moving towards a tranquil waltz.
The second movement is faster and often somewhat garish, in distinct contrast with the first. The old-fashioned, jazzy idea heard at the beginning appears several times, alternating with contrasting secondary themes. The first subordinate theme features the bassoon playing a sustained line with staccato repeated chords in the piano. After a shortened return of the opening music, the second subordinate theme features an arpeggiated, legato theme in the bassoon, this time with the piano playing a high, twirling background figure. The final section of the piece returns to the opening music again, shifting the idea around tonally before coming to a somewhat abrupt conclusion.