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Composer: Marshall, Pauline

Publisher: Phylloscopus Publications (England)

Edition: PP287


for bassoon and piano
by Pauline Marshall (1918-2007)-English composer
I. Caprice
II. Berceuse Triste
III. Danzon

The idea for a bassoon composition came to Pauline Marshall when listening to a tenant in her London flat who practiced the bassoon diligently but seemed to have little to play other than arpeggios. The result was the three-movement Divertimento, which could be subtitled, "An Entertainment for Children". The first movement, Caprice, scampers about inconsequentially like Spring lambs enjoying being alive. It features sudden changes of key and staccato notes which represent the lambs accidentally falling over themselves, or bouncing off all four feet at once. Next comes Berceuse Triste, for an orphan child. The repeated notes in the accompaniment are hardly more than a heart-beat, and the melody should sing out cantabile. The key changes follow a descending whole-tone scale. The chords at the end are intended to give a misty effect, like drifting to sleep. The last movement is Danzon, a Cuban dance employing the typical rhythm of cinquillo and tresillo (groups of five and three notes respectively). A more lyrical section occurs near the middle of the movement, giving the piano a theme of its own. It is, however, the bassoon that finally resolves this theme in the last bars with a cheerful flourish.