Mark Small : Allegretto, Elegy and Passacaglia
Les Productions D’Oz: 12 pages
Having seen a previous work from this Boston born composer – performer that I loved, I was quite surprised to find how different in style this latest trilogy was compared to that previous work, but then again, I suppose that that is the beauty of a good writer. One way to describe the style is modern, and unpredictable but not atonal, although there are a number of very definite crunches along the way.
The opening Allegretto is in a number of changing time signatures including 5/8, 6/8, 3/8, 7/8 in the first section which is quaver -driven and relies on some semi tonal moments along with some unusual arpeggio ideas that could catch you out. The middle section is in 3 /4 and 4/4 and is more normal in style, until the quirky opening ideas and time signatures return for one final run through leading to a final coda that slams down on a low E to finish.
The middle movement Elegy is marked Grave and is thoroughly grief – stricken in its style, with opening slow chords topped by a moving melody, which a little later becomes a bass tune with the chords above it. In between there are a couple of faster sections that do task the player somewhat but the music, although faster, still remains sad in content.
The final Passacaglia has a dropped D 6th and has a number of climactic moments as it goes along its way, with many sections involving unusual fingerings that are definitely in the moderate to advanced level of technique. The whole work comes to a close with an accelerando, a burst of rasgueado and a final pianissimo chord of D major.
This was a very individual work that may not appeal to some players but there are plenty of unique moments that take this piece into another level entirely, and so decent players with good techniques may very well find this a worthwhile purchase.