*Contemporary Piece.* Beautiful flowing piece that combines attractive melodies with aleatoric effects and multiphonics.
_Score 7 pp. Parts 1 pp._
OMP126 Benjamin Thorn, Wefts
OMP100 Donald Bousted, Whale Song
Here are two unusual works by well-established composers whose names will be familiar to most recorder players. I first introduced both of them to AR readers many years ago (they were up-and-coming at the time) when I was writing "On the Cutting Edge".
Benjamin Thorn is perpetually a unique musician. Wefts (an archaic word meaning "weaves") is a work that mixes rapid, randomly played and continually repeated note groups with melodies. During several parts of the piece, different melodic lines are heard at the same time, intertwining and crossing each other's ranges. What holds the piece together is its modality that is based on some of Olivier Messiaen's modes of limited transposability. The result is a simultaneous feeling of restlessness and stasis.
English composer Donald Bousted is best known for his many duets written for Kathryn Bennetts and Peter Bowman, all (except this one) published in England by Composer Press. Whale Song is a difficult work that is, like much of Bousted's recorder music, very microtonal. In this particular case, Bousted utilizes eighth notes that are to be produced by special fingerings.
Much of the content of this duet consists of rapid staccato notes within a very narrow range, and sustained multiphonics that have off-beat entrance points. The combination of these two elements requires great rhythmic precision and would be difficult to play even without the microtonality. A little blurb printed above the title on the first page of the score informs us that the initial performance of this work was rendered with live electronics. That probably made a big difference in how the music came across...
Wefts requires an advanced amateur group and - especially if it is played by a large ensemble with the parts doubled - a good conductor. Whale Song is strictly for professionals or conservatory students. Both are interesting.
Pete Rose, American Recorder, January 2006