Music Composers Unite!
After doing a couple pieces for larger musical groups, I decided to bring it down a bit by composing for smaller ensembles. My next piece Alienus, a Latin word for strange, is a contemporary composition with the orchestration for a Woodwind Quartet (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon) and piano.
This piece is entirely based off the interval the Augmented Fourth, more commonly known as the Tritone. Being one of my favorite intervals, I emphasize this a lot in the piece. It starts off with a moderately slow piano entrance that gives away no hint as to what the rest of the piece will sound like. However, when the clarinet entrance gives the piece a very strange, unusual flavor. A small buildup occurs resulting in a key change and the strangeness still continues. Suddenly, a the excitement begins to build, and right at the climax, all the instruments cut off for a beat and reenter with the tritone interval. As the introduction fades away, I enter the first theme of my piece, which is rather rapid and exciting.
The first theme begins with the clarinet offering the melody. At the end of that phrase, the flute offers some accompaniment and following the flute is the oboe repeating the melody. Soon, the oboe, bassoon, and clarinet are all playing the melody, when suddenly the bassoon brings in a loud note ending this phrase. The next bit of still the first theme is complete insanity! Each instrument is rapidly playing notes creating an extremely chaotic feel. As all the instruments are trying to squeeze in all the notes they have, the flute and clarinet perform an accented whole note of a tritone interval, suddenly concluding the insane part. The rapidness then retreats to a new, unexpected phrase of one note being followed by another a tritone apart. This phrase ends with a few piano trills leading into the second theme, of my piece.
The second theme is also rather quick and exciting, but not as insane. The clarinet once again has the melody but it is quickly lost several times, and it becomes rather challenging to hear the melody. Once again, the listener is left to just absorb the strangeness of the piece. Later, a development is heard again, but once again, this development is not concluded as it leads to empty silence. After a few more moments of unusualness, a chromatic scale is played to lead us into the next fragment of the piece.
The third theme starts off rather similar to the introduction, with a few alterations. However, this suddenly changes, as the piano has a short solo portion that is new to the rest of the piece. This section gives the piece a flavor that is not experienced earlier in the piece and soon the rest of the woodwinds enter, slowly crescendoing until there is an evident ascension, but this is of course, finished with empty silence. Following the empty silence is the introduction of my piece. The ending is very similar to my introduction with the exception that is is unconcluded.
Alienus is a very contemporary piece and is very different from most compositions by composers today. Sometimes, it takes one listen to like it, whereas others it may take a couple. I composed this at age 15. Give it a listen, and give me some feedback!