History and Performance Notes
This quartet has four movements: Introduction, Dance, Reflection and Fugue. It is one of the most exciting pieces I've written and demands full attention on the part of the players. I debuted this Quartet in Albany, CA in November, 2001 as part of a larger debut concert of the American Recorder Orchestra of the West. I performed it again at a fundraiser concert for the now-late Phil Robbins in April 2007.
A stately procession, with the melody in the Alto. Soprano and Tenor are the accompaniment, with the Bass marking the pace. Feel free to add drama to the ending. A sketch of this movement as part of a solo recorder sonata with keyboard also exists.
As you can see from the snippet shown above, the piece starts with an ascending arpeggio distributed among the four parts. A swirling maelstrom of organized movement depends on accurate counting and confidence in all players. There's no place for the timid to hide- the Tenor part is just as critical as anyone else! Several moods emerge during the course of the movement, all of them aggressive. It's a dance movement, after all!
A constantly pulsing undercurrent marks this introspective movement in the key of B-flat. The top three parts each take a turn at the opening solo introduced in the Soprano. The third iteration is stated by the Alto which starts to diverge from the chord pattern and brings us into a minor mode. It goes on from there, winding its way through this key-center and that, always with that pulsating undercurrent. It finally ends with a high B-flat in the Soprano which CAN be played sweetly.
The subject of this fugue has been going around and around in my head for about ten years, but I had trouble conjuring up a convincing countersubject. Originally, this fugue was a stand-alone work (actually a fugue in need of a prelude) for flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon. It's really nice that way too! Working it out for recorders required a new key and a couple octave shifts here and there. Why am I telling you this? So you know my music is adaptable.
Played by Jan Jaap Langereis of the Netherlands
Playing all parts himself!