Three Short Stories (Score & Parts)-BSN/VLA
Composer: Wolfgang, Gernot
Publisher: Doblinger (Austria)
for viola and bassoon
by Gernot Wolfgang (b. 1957)- Austrian composer
From the composer:
Three Short Stories- like my other chamber pieces- combines musical elements from the world of jazz with compositional techniques predominantly found in classical and 20th century concert music. The jazz aspect of the composition is audible through the extensive use of idiomatic rhythms, whereas the elements of harmony, counterpoint, and development are drawn more from the realms of the above mentioned concert musical styles. Three Short Stories was originally written for viola and bassoon, but the piece also exists in arrangements for clarinet (Bb) and bassoon, as well as for viola and and cello.
Although the title suggests programmatic content, the stories are mostly musical ones. The first movement, "Uncle Bebop" is an uptempo romp which starts in unison octaves, leading from there to more counterpoint oriented fast passages, including sections in which the viola (or clarinet) while employing traditional arco and pizzicato playing techniques, practically assumes the part of a percussion instrument. The movements settles down briefly in a short quiet sections interrupted by moments of silence before picking up speed again at the reprise, which leads to an energetic finish.
"Rays of Light" is lyrical in character, and is almost more a composition for two solo instruments than a duet. Bassoon and viola (clarinet) shape the piece trading solo passages, with only a few connecting measures in between in which the instruments interact. Only in the last couple of measures do the two parts unite to create a true ensemble sound.
The title of the third movement, "Latin Dance" already gives away its character. This again is a lively, fast piece of music, which explores rhythms found in Latin American music while using an unusually dissonant melodic and harmonic language.