I wanted to share some good news. My friend and colleague Chuck Holdeman has just released our recording of his composition for bassoon and harp, Lyric Seasons.
The recording is available for download on CD Baby, where you can preview all four of the movements.
Lyric Seasons was written in 2000, and Chuck and I premiered it the same year. The four movements are not seasons in the sense of time of the year, but rather represent four very contrasting takes on lyricism, which might be defined as poetic melody.
The first “misty” movement is in part a swirl of questioning or mysterious sounds from which more specific themes emerge. The second movement is based on obstinate ostinati, or simple repeated patterns played on each instrument in turn, while the other instrument plays with complete melodic abandon. Chuck realized in hindsight that this movement might not have existed without his having heard the last number in Bill Duckworth’s Time Curve Preludes.
The third, the slow movement in 5/4 time, is the one which emulates the sweet, sensuous sound of the French composer Ravel, particularly his Piano Concerto in G. The last movement is the season of jazz, utilizing the form of the 12-bar blues and also in 5/4 time. Except for the flurry of sound before the final chord, there is no jazz improvisation though Chuck’s composing process is like improvisation, the ending unknown till he gets there.
When we recorded, we had the benefit of the excellent acoustics of Zion Lutheran Church in Wilmington. Most modern recordings have a little electronic reverberation added at the end of the editing process. That was unnecessary in this case, and what you hear is just the sound we made on that day.
Chuck and I have performed Lyric Seasons numerous times, and it is one of my favorite works to perform. The harp part is imaginative and rewarding to play. It is challenging in a way that stretches the performer musically and requires great communication between the players. Most importantly, the moods evoked by the different movements provide a wide range of expressive opportunities.
I highly recommend this work. The sheet music is available from TrevCo-Varner Music in two versions, one for bassoon and harp and one for bassoon and piano. Once again, you can listen and purchase the tracks on CD Baby. It will be available on iTunes soon.