Friday, August 18, 2006

80Studies part 2

They'e cute. I can see why they've still been in print since 1978.

That was a short part 2, eh? Seriously, I could write more but I'm writing this at about midnight so I'm not sure I'm lucid enough to be writing much of anything about them.

I have recently discovered a piece that was recorded by David Starobin that was written by Gyorgy Kurtag for piccolo, trombone, and guitar. I would dearly love to know which trombone this piece was written for so I can find out if a guy I know and I can play the piece. If tenor trombone then rock on! I'd just need to find someone who plays piccolo. If not, well, I'd like to pick up the score and recording anyway.

Starobin is a guy I should have checked out by now, really. My pet interest is chamber music for guitar and exactly why I haven't picked up any CDs by him before or listened to works he's commissioned has basically been a matter of me being too busy writing or being lazy to get around to it. Then again I haven't been totally lazy. I know chamber works by Ourkouzounov, Koshkin, Takemitsu, Piazzolla, Pagannini, and so on. I'm not even close to being good enough to PLAY these pieces but I happen to have the scores and have studied them a bit.

Works for trombone and guitar are extremely rare, it seems, and are almost as rare as works for trumpet and classical guitar. There are a handful of pieces for French horn and guitar but these, too, are few and far betweeen and no one has recorded them in the United States. Perhaps this is because the interesting pieces for these brass and guitar combinations are more common in Europe? Either way the only recordings of brass and guitar works I know of are Jack Sanders and Anthony Plog playing Frank Campo's Two Studies for trumpet and guitar and now my belated discovery of Kurtag's The Little PRedicament for piccolo, trombone, and guitar.

There should be more music written for brass instruments and guitar. I don't know exactly how I'm going to pull this off but I say someone should write a piece for tuba and guitar. I'm sure it's been done already but perhaps not in a "classical" style of any stripe? I don't really know. If any of you readers happen to know of a piece for tuba and guitar let me know where it's published. :)

The whole subject of writing for brass instruments with our six-stringed friend interests me because of the drastic contrasts in tone color and volume the instruments are capable of, to say nothing of the routine contrast between ostensibly monophonic/monodic and polyphonic instruments. I know just enough about Berio to know that limited polyphony is possible on brass instruments.

Mutes. Lots of mutes I suspect may be necessary. But the trombone and the guitar have a surprising overlap in natural range. The guitar obviously goes quite a bit higher but with not even a tenth the volume-production capacity of the trombone. And it should go without saying some neat little tricks are shared in common by the guitar and the trombone for those who have even the slightest knowledge of blues. Yep.

But I suppose I'm gertting ahead of myself and letting my mind wander. Sometime this weekend I am likely to watch Snakes on a Plane. I make a distinction here between movies that are simply bad, like the original Friday the 13th movie, and movies that are GLORIOUSLY BAD, like Freddy vs Jason. Snakes on a Plane looks to be more in the gloriously bad category.
What do I mean by gloriously bad? Well, if it's not completely self-evident I don't know if I really CAN explain it but I suppose I could try ... some time later.