Saturday, November 15, 2008


Mosaic is a flute and piano piece I wrote in 1994 for Susan and myself. We've always enjoyed it, and it gets the best response from listeners of anything I've written. Andy and I have also tried it as a 'cello and keyboard piece, and with a few modifications, it works well. (Though nothing else is going to come close to Susan sailing through it bringing out all the melodic inflections written with her in mind.)

Yesterday I tried it with clarinet and trumpet both doubling the solo as well as taking turns playing it. It can work for clarinet, but not for trumpet. The trumpet needs a lot more rests for breathing and lip recovery. And even with a lot of modification, I'm not sure it will work because of the innate brilliance and power of the trumpet's tone. While the piece is very rhythmic and has a sort of happy bounce to it, there's a kind of wistfulness to it that's unsuited for the trumpet. 

If Maggie enjoys the piece enough to work it up, we could work on doing whatever we can to make it more suited to the clarinet, and then at that point, maybe add some trumpet descants or harmonies. And since Mosaic is a modular piece, maybe new 14 bar units written especially for the trumpet could be added to the pattern. The idea of possible future reworking of the mosaic's pattern has been there from the beginning. Will be interesting to see if it can be done. 

I think the appeal of the piece has a lot to do with its rhythmic foundation. It's not difficult, but not used very much. Throughout the piece, which has six beats per measure, a measure of 1,2,3,1,2,3 is followed by a measure of 1,2,1,2,1,2. Two groups of three followed by three groups of two. It's an easily felt pulse that has the impetus for melodic variety built right in.

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