Quattro Esercizi Soli (2003)
Quattro Esercisi Soli is a set of four brief instrumental pieces for oboe, contrabass, viola, and bassoon. The works are similar to variation insofar as the harmonic materials are consistent in each work; however, there is no clear “thematic” core that connects each piece. There is, nevertheless, a shared repertoire of behaviors between the works that function partly to animate the musical spaces in similar ways despite the broad differences in sonic character. Unlike etudes, these pieces do not focus on technical matters; rather, they explore (however briefly) a narrowly circumscribed instrumental landscape. They are lyrical works, owing partly to the Italianate sensibility that characterized my work at the time (1993), but most crucially the composition of these pieces functioned as a training ground, of sorts, for my subsequent work: a setting of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky.” Incidentally, this period predates my studies in Italy, where I learned that my ideas at the time regarding Italianate lyricism were somewhat quaint. This 2008 edition clears up some inconsistencies regarding phrasing and articulation that burdened the original manuscript. Ideally, these pieces would be played in a single concert (albeit not necessarily in sequence); however, they would also function separately as encore pieces for recitals or other concerts in which these instruments are featured. Indeed, I expect this to be the most plausible setting for these pieces.