Octet: Variations on Beethoven (score & parts) - 8 CBSN
Composer: Banzhoff, Drew
Octet: Variations on Beethoven
for eight contrabassoons (or any combination of bassoons and contras adding up to eight)
by Drew Banzhoff
Once upon a time, in a faraway land known as the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina, there lived a young composer in a house in the woods. This composer was living the best life; he had found many successes in his musical areas of expertise; he was in a magical relationship with a wonderful girl who was skilled at the bassoon, and he was preparing to leave the mountains for good to pursue a musical career. Nonetheless, he was spoiled by his purist fixation on the Romantic demigod, Ludwig van Beethoven. A name that struck fear and raw power into the hearts of so many, it seemed this composer was not spared from Ludwig’s inescapable wrath.
One day, the composer was fixating on Beethoven’s supposed genius, when the girl informed him that she would be traveling to the metropolis of Little Switzerland, North Carolina, to participate a second time in an event that is essentially the equivalent of “Bassoon-Con.” The composer should have been happy for his partner, but due to his corrupted heart he could not give her the love and attention she so earnestly longed for. Thus, she became angry and revealed herself to be an apprentice sorcerer. She used her magical bassoon to diminish the composer’s ability to create new pieces. It seemed the only music he now could write was for an instrument infamous for its rarity and limited abilities(?)... the beastly contrabassoon! Thus, the composer, a tubist with much envy for this rival contrabass instrument, was forced to remain in his wooded house and write lesser arrangements of Beethoven’s genius work for this intriguing instrument in all possible combinations. Unless he could learn to love and respect his girlfriend for all that she had done for him, he would be stuck in this dreaded state for all time.
Thus, this piece was born. The composer, seeking revenge for his wretched state of mind and envy for the deity of a composer who twisted his soul, decided to mock and belittle him profusely by taking one of his “greatest” works, Symphony No. 5 in c minor, Op. 67, and creating a set of unnecessary variations. Leering at the lack of contrabassoon in the first three movements and grimacing at the “poor craft” and challenges of his writing for the instrument in the last movement, this composer decided to “1-up” Beethoven, in a sense, by paradoxically “improving” Ludwig’s piece in an attempt to make it worse.
If you had the misfortune of finding these variations (or, more likely, you experienced the misfortune of this piece finding YOU), and you haven’t yet fled in terror, please direct your attention to the list of useless information found below:
Score is in C, Transposed (lol)
You probably want a conductor, but then again you probably don’t, as conductors are notorious for their ornate behaviour and worshipping of Supreme Being Beethoven. The setup is so simple a preschooler could figure it out: it requires eight people to perform this work. No refunds, exchanges, or exceptions please.
You will shout words, in English preferably, the native language of the composer, and you’uns best be well equipped to do so. Some of y’all even has to narrate, look mighty angry and clear them throats. Good luck to ya.
At the time of the writing of these notes, it remains unclear if the composer ever expressed his love to his partner, or if he still wallows in his eternal misery, writing contrabassoon ensemble music for the rest of his days....
Anyhow, best of luck for those who dare attempt this piece and tallyho!
-Unknown (maybe Drew Banzhoff??)
Octet: Variations on Beethoven (which would be his Op. 25)
Duration (the time of your precious life you will waste away): Approx. 13 (cursed!) minutes