Impressions

for oboe/english horn
and clarinet/bass clarinet
2018

Program Notes

 

I. This Impression utilizes the first sixteen steps of the harmonic series distilled into a single scale.

The motivic and groove based melodies explore the relationship of harmonies within the harmonic series while shedding the context of their specific position within the series. In addition, in the exploration of sound in time, the object of the musician should be to establish as much intensity in the rests as in the rhythmic, groove-based melodies and the rhythmic, ethereal soundscapes.

 

II. This Impression uses a musical cryptogram to turn a quote from Isaac Asimov into pitches to be played by the instrumentalists. The instrumentalists are to analyze the text and add tempos, rhythms, dynamics, and articulations based on their analysis. As this statement is an opinion (a quite divisive opinion in this day and age), without any supporting facts involved, I imagine that every performer is going to have a very different analysis and perspective on how this should be performed. Please let your feelings and reaction to this statement be known. 

 

III. Inspired by Stravinsky’s version of “Lied Ohne Name” for two bassoons, this Impressions emphasizes simple formal and melodic structures, simple repeating and sequencing motives, and varying dissonant and consonant intervals to create tension, unease, and direction throughout. 

 

IV. This Impression references one of my favorite episodes of the Waking Up podcast by Sam Harris: #51 The Most Powerful Clown. Directly after the 2016 election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, Sam Harris recorded what boils down to a 35 minute rant on the unbelievable reality that we had just elected someone so unfit to hold any public office, much less the presidency. 

 

This movement uses a musical cryptogram to turn “Donald Trump” into scalar material that is then employed over the pitch centers “The Most Powerful Clown.”


V. Simply meant to be pleasant and pretty, this Impression uses a melody I came across in a compositional ideas notebook from many years ago that I had yet to develop. The melody is reminiscent of a piece of music I had listened to and performed a lot during that time period: Cloudburst from Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofe.

© 2018  Thomas Breadon, Jr.

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