"ShannonDuos" Vol 4
Commissioned by Charles Fischer
History and Performance Notes
My 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 4 is for two Alto recorders, though the absence of bell-stopped notes makes them potentially suitable for two Basses if the instruments have reliable high notes. Each duet is 3 pages, so I’ve included an extra loose folio containing the third pages, to avoid impossible page turns.
“Gin Rickey” derives its name from the classic cocktail. Fun passages in unison alternate with dance-like sections, and the players take turns being the melody and the accompaniment. This refreshing duet is not played with swing, though its melodic construction imparts a swing feel.
The Canonic Sonata is an homage to Georg Philipp Telemann. In the tradition of canons written in one staff, the star (*) indicates when the second player begins, and both players should reach their respective fermatas at the same time (Player 1 ignores the first fermata). The ornaments in the plaintive middle movement should be played in the French Baroque style. For example, in measures 1 and 5, the first grace note is played on the beat and the second is between the beats. Similarly, the grace notes in measures 4 and 31 are also on the beat.
“Pentasm” adds variety to the series with its uneven meter. Tension and anxiety drive the music, with close hocket-y interplay between the parts. Slurs are real slurs, especially in mm. 58-65, moving just the fingers with a steady breath. Unlike those of the Canonic Sonata, the grace notes throughout “Pentasm” are little flicks before the beat. At the unison 3/4 ending, the eighth-notes retain their value; there are simply six of them now instead of five.