Home > Solo instrument + piano > Cantilena for bassoon and piano

Cantilena for bassoon and piano

Composer
Year of composition
2011
Difficulty
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
Duration
4 minutes
Genre
Classical music
Instrumentation
Solo instrument + piano
Instrumental parts

This version of ‘Cantilena’ was arranged in 2011, and dedicated to Miriam Butler. The original version was written in 1987 for alto saxophone and piano. Its title derives from its prominent use of sustained, smooth-flowing melodic lines – indeed the melody was recycled from an arietta from the opera, ‘Yellow Earth Ridge’ (1976), which has since been withdrawn by the composer. ‘Cantilena’ tries to capture a popular flavour, borrowing freely from pop, jazz and rock styles: primary and secondary chords are used in arpeggiated piano figures, as mainstream ballads might do; pedal notes are a feature, especially on the tonic note, and a ‘bluesy’ style emerges in the third main theme. A pseudo-rock style is twice used on the climax section, which acts as a song-like chorus. ‘Cantilena’ is in the key of D Major overall, but even the introduction uses ‘wrong-note’ harmony (notably flattened sevenths) to produce ambiguous tonality. The piece demonstrates a range of tone colour for the bassoon across a wide melodic range. The composer has also arranged ‘Cantilena’ for flute and piano, clarinet and piano, and cello and piano; there is also a version for alto saxophone, oboe and strings.

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