Thursday, April 21, 2005

Menuet and Dance from Orpheus

Orchestral Excerpts for Flute
Jean Baxtresser

The first phrase ends on a strong HC on ti, leaving a strong feeling of continuance. The solfege is me-re-me-fa-me-re-do-ti. The minor key combined with the middle to high register in the flute makes this solo especially pretty. The rhythm is, in a very slow tempo, quarter tied to an eighth tied to the first note of a sixteenth note triplet. The phrases are shaped by the sixteenths, they offer such a contrast the the longer notes especially because they are not held. Because they are so much faster, the next note of each sixteenth triplet has a natural accent to it. The intervals are also very close together, so any kind of leap is accentuated. The next phrase starts on sol, alternating with le. The pull from le to sol is especially emphasized for the minor feel by the rhythm. It starts out on a held sol, then alternates le, sol, le, with the second le held longer than the first, then rests on sol, making it a phrygian cadence. After a brief pause, it jumps to do, an octave higher than the one in the begining, and using a similar rhythm to the beginning. The faster notes cue movement. There is a lot of V-i pull emphasized. Whenever there is a held note, in this phrases case do, it usually slurs down a half step and quickly back up, then maybe up to re and then ti-do. It sort of delays the entire phrase and leaves it hanging in suspense for the resolution. Because of the strong pull for a resolution, mainly due to rhythm and register, the many HC are very effective in connecting with the next phrase, even when there is a rest inbetween. The entire excerpt changing rhythms a bit, but it never loses the bittersweet quality. The expository function is the do-re-me-re-do-ti-, the third actual phrase. The rhythms in this phrase are heard several times, but it is the only phrase that is repeated. The phrases themselves basically are ascending and descending scales, covering a wide variety of range in register. The piece ends on a PAC re-do, with re trilled, a definite cue to the end of the piece. The scale shape gives the excerpt a very expansiveness in the bittersweet sound, and creates the overall beauty that can be found in any part of the excerpt. I liked it very much.

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