"ShannonDuos" Vol 1
for Soprano or Tenor Recorders

Commissioned by Charles Fischer

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History and Performance Notes

cover artMy catalogue of compositions was lacking in music for two. Charles Fischer of Unicorn Music saw the gap and commissioned this set of 24 duets for recorders, in 8 volumes grouped by instrument combination. Their difficulty levels are generally suitable for intermediate players, though advanced players will find them enjoyable and challenging as well. As in all my music, tasteful ornamentation beyond what is notated is welcome and encouraged.

Volume 1 is for 2 Soprano or 2 Tenor recorders (my preference is indicated by clef and listing order of the instruments at the outset of each piece). Each duet is 3 pages, so an extra loose folio is provided with the third pages, to avoid impossible page turns.

The title “La Recherche de l’inconnue” is a parody of those found in French Baroque music, by composers such as Rameau and Charpentier, and might be directly translated as “Searching for the Unknown (Woman)”. The driving outer sections are in the minor key, but slurred pairs and staccato notes add sparkle. The relaxed and lyrical middle section in the relative major brings surprise optimism. Tension builds again like dark clouds as the return to the minor key looms. To keep with general Baroque performance style, trills begin on the upper note. Short grace notes are before the beat; long ones are on the beat and take their time from the main note .

“Bicinium” is suitable for Renaissance recorders, which have strong bottom notes and a limited upper range. Vaguely modal, it harkens back to late medieval/early Renaissance music with no barlines. As the voices weave in imitation (or perhaps mockery), 2 beats against 3 creates a recurring hemiola effect.

“Bubala” is a fun klezmer piece, with moods ranging from happy and dancing to somber and wailing, ultimately leading up to a big party — the “finale” on page 3 is like a klezmer can-can.

(This is an earlier ending of the duo.)