I chose to write my piece for a woodwind quartet, consisting of a Flute, Clarinet, Oboe and Bassoon. This was because I am a clarinettist, and feel confident writing for woodwind instruments as I regularly play alongside them have frequently seen the capabilities of the instruments. My main influences for my piece were ‘Falling in Love with Love’ from Rodgers and Hart’s ‘The Boys from Syracuse’ and the first movement of Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerto for Bassoon in E minor and Haydn’s Symphony 103 in Eb Major.
In ‘Falling in Love with Love’ I liked the scalic patterns such as:
I liked this because it was interesting and not something I had played before and consequently I wanted to experiment with it, and use it within the Flute melody of the Theme. I incorporated elements of Vivaldi’s Bassoon concerto in Variation 2 such as the wide leaps and the bassoon playing the main melody.
I then decided to write the piece in F major, compared to the original Bb Major key signature of ‘Falling in Love with Love’. This is because I knew because I was going to include a transposing instrument, and I wanted to include a key that used simple fingerings in order to maximise the sound of the clarinet. I chose the tempo of 115 beats per minute because I wanted to create an upbeat and lively piece to utilise the agile characteristics of the bassoon. I created a chord structure of ‘I V7 I V7 I II V7 I V VI III IV I V’ and began to adapt the scalic patterns from ‘Falling in Love with Love’ to fit with this.
The chromaticism from the melody of ‘Falling in Love with Love’ also influenced the bass line of my piece.
The theme begins with the quaver melody played on the flute, with a crotchet staccato bass line played by the bassoon, much like the start of ‘Falling in Love with Love’ where the quaver rhythm is played by the left hand of the piano, and the crotchets are played underneath by the right hand. The oboe plays a countermelody in bar 2, which is then imitated by the clarinet in bar three. I chose to do this because throughout the theme and variation, a call and response structure between the clarinet, oboe and flute is created, which I liked. Structured with a first and second time bar, this allows section A of the theme to be repeated and then developed into section A1, taking influence from rondo form of Haydn’s Symphony. The second time bar is in the dominant of C major allowing modulation to occur and section B of the theme is therefore written in the dominant of F major, returning to the tonic in the final bar. There are expressive dynamics within my theme, ranging from pianissimo in bar 6 to fortissimo in bar, heavily influenced by the romantic composer Haydn, who used a wide range of dynamics.
Articulations such as accents are used within the theme to emphasise the strong beats of each bar. The bassoon line is predominantly written using staccatos to highlight the bassoon’s dexterous nature. I thought this was comical as it relates to the bassoon often being referred to as the ‘clown of the orchestra’, and is often seen within ‘Falling in Love with Love’ such as in bars 120 and 121.
The oboe often imitates within the theme, imitating the flute in bar six and again in bar twelve, creating a call and response structure between them.
I liked this as it allows communication between the instruments and develops a relationship within the quartet. The clarinet takes over the melody in section B for four bars, until the flute and oboe come in once more at bar fifteen. The oboe takes the flute melody of bars fifteen and sixteen and uses the technique of retrograde, once more creating a call and response between the two instruments. I chose to use this technique, as it was not something I had used before and upon trying it, believed that it fitted well. The theme ends with a perfect cadence by all the instruments.
Variation 1 is written in the relative minor of F major- D minor, with the Italian term ‘Espressivo’ written at the beginning, telling the musicians to play the piece expressively. The tempo remains the same within this variation, however there is a definite rhythmic difference. The main melody has moved to the oboe and is written using dotted quavers and semi quavers.
I chose to use the oboe to play the main melody in this low register as the tone is pungent, creating a harsher and more contrasting minor key and I believed that this was more fitting than the other instruments. Whereas the flute previously played the quaver melody, tonic minums replace this, building up the chords when joined with the clarinet on the third.
The dynamics are much quieter within the variation, beginning with the oboe on mezzo forte with the accompanying instruments playing piano. This then changes however in bar 37 after the ritardando and fermata as the bassoon and oboe play mezzo-forte, the clarinet plays forte and the flute plays fortissimo in order to create a stark contrast from the beginning of the variation. I chose to place the ritardando in the middle of the variation as I have usually seen them at the end of a piece and upon seeing one in ‘Falling in Love with Love’ wanted to explore this in my piece.
Whereas the oboe, clarinet and flute play a variation on the melody of the theme, the bassoon plays a variation of the bass line, using semiquaver rhythms and triplets. This was not my intention when first composing the variation, however upon listening to Vivaldi’s bassoon concerto, I wanted to make the bassoon line more virtuosic and therefore added different types of rhythms in order to do this.
Arpeggio influences from Vivaldi’s bassoon concerto are used within this variation, played with a slur in order to add fluency to the piece and link ideas together.
Variation 2 is written in a different time signature, 12/8 utilising triplet rhythms, much like the 3./4 time signature of ‘Falling in Love with Love’. I chose to use this time signature, as it was one that I had never played nor written in, and I therefore wanted to explore it. The melody is once again played on the flute much like the theme, in the opening bars. The accompaniment, instead of playing chords and countermelody’s, creating a polyphonic texture as seen in Variation 1, builds up by introducing syncopated staccato notes on the oboe, along side dotted crotchets in the bassoon, joined firmly by the clarinet on the third. The bassoon takes over the melody in bar 50, where wide leaps of octaves are used, influenced by Vivaldi’s concerto. I chose to do this because the bassoon had not had the melody in any of the piece so far, and I wanted to use this virtuosic technique once more, to emphasise the bassoons agility.
The oboe continues it’s call and response pattern, except it is now with the clarinet in bars 55 to 57. The clarinet plays the melody in quaver rhythms, taken from the flute melody in the beginning of Variation 2, and the flute plays the melody in the same rhythm as the bassoon previously did during it’s solo. I did this because I wanted to use the ideas of developing the main melody, but still hinting at it’s original state as shown Haydn’s symphony.