By Luna Pearl Woolf | For Bassoon, Horn and Piano Quartet | 16′
Composer: Luna Pearl Woolf
Year Composed: 2004
Instrumentation: For Bassoon, Horn and Piano Quartet
Format: Full Score in C + 5 Parts
Page Size: 8.5″x14″
Catalog Number: OM0139
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From the composer:
When Stephen Walt and Jean Rife approached me about writing a sextet that would highlight their instruments, the bassoon and French horn, I was intrigued by the prospect of pairing these seemingly irreconcilable elements. The bassoon’s exceptional agility, its reedy and complicated tone contrast at every turn with the noble, arresting clarity of the horn’s majestic resonance, yet they share an almost identical and impressive range approaching four octaves. I found myself inspired by the idea of mismatched twins – two beings inextricably tied to each other by nature, yet opposite in all inherent abilities, tastes and inclinations.
The three movements of Ontogeny trace the development of these archetypes.
In “Games,” the horn revels in an athletic grace and easy power, while the bassoon’s intricately twisted lines betray a more cerebral bent. Both indulge their strengths while challenging the other and mocking its weaknesses.
The slow second movement, “The Dreamland Tree,” sets that traditional lullaby as heard through a fog of near-sleep. The lead instruments are united and lulled at first but split off into separate nightmares, each harboring very different inward fears.
In the final movement, “Time Slips,” we view a future of independence and interdependence, where each individual has matured to face its obstacles, interacting confidently with its diametrically-gifted counterpart. After each instrument takes a solo cadenza, the bassoon and horn share a playful dance with the full ensemble. A duo-cadenza finishes the piece, celebrating the talents and newfound harmony of the pair.
Commission/Dedication: To Stephen Walt and Jean Rife.
Premiere: First performed May 23, 2004 in Saratoga Springs, NY by Stephen Walt, Jean Rife, Jill Levy, Sarah Clarke, Eliot Bailen, and Beth Levin.