Solo for bass oboe

I've had so much trouble and frustration recently attempting an orchestral piece that I gave up. There comes a point where it gets too much. Last time that happened I gave up composing altogether for several years.

So I turned to writing a solo to clear the slate so to speak. Trivial it may be but it seems to have worked leading to lauching into an octet in a more formal style. I chose bass oboe as I have samples for it - regrettably limited so they don't allow much scope - maybe that's a good thing.

Any comment good or bad would be appreciated and many thanks if you can give it an audition. Duration 2 minutes.

SOliloquy for Bass Oboe 050224 224.mp3


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  •  what sort of frustration - with the virtual instruments? Or with inspiration or putting it all together? The solo woodwind repertoire is not extensive (there may be more works among contemporary composers to be discovered) so it's an interesting thing to go for and I found this work quite atmospheric, especially as it's bass oboe which is not so often heard. I'll let any woodwind players comment in more detail. Actually a fellow Dorician is doing a whole series of solo woodwind stuff because he is also dissatisfied with the existing repertoire (for oboe he likes the Britten Metamorphoses).

    • The whole composing process - but yes, my inability to realise what I'm hearing in my head with virtual instruments; my failure to anticipate development without losing this minute's inspiration. Development that forces me to rethink what I've already done and having to change it.

      I'd give it a go on my ancient (Project 80) analgue synthesiser + 8-track recorder but that would be too much work. I still think the orchestral palette is where it is, given the aims in mind. 

      And this is why sometimes my initial or intermediate sketchings are pastels on black paper.

      I wanted to write an oboe solo but samples available are inadequate: no single-note trills; no harmonics, no bends...

      Anyway, this bass oboe thing has prompted me to start a sextet for string quintet + oboe. More formal, individual instrument give me better contol, so let's hope.

      Above all, thank you for listening and encouragement. Much appreciated.


      • Perhaps worth adding about orchestral samples, I don't cheat. (Maybe I should). I treat instruments as what they are, their dynamics and strengths/weaknesses and adjust volume via velocities rather than the faders. So that, for instance, if a flute is too quiet in the mix it's an orchestral balance problem which isn't resolved by turning up the volume. 

        I usually start by setting the faders to give me a mezzoforte for each instrument with the velocity at 64 or thereabouts then leave them alone!

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