Survival Exercices

Post was created on April 23rd, 2016

Musings for basoon solo

Această pagină are și o versiune în limba română.

The first version of the Survival Exercises (2013) — never published, nor presented to the public — was born in sheer frustration, in times where the utter vaingloriousness of a seemingly prosper, but purposeless mundane existence brought my creative self on the brink of extinction.

In an effort to escape the concerted assault of Gantts, spreadsheets, reports, delivery estimates and various other naughts, I put together these Exercises, to prove myself more than a smallish caster that turns endlessly within an infernal machine; a conscious attempt to recall myself as a creator.

While doing it, I had this epiphany, eventually healing my purblind, selfish view of the matter: I had the revelation of an entire humanity wandering about a depleted existence, drained of spirit, love, hope and faith.

Image of a gothic cathedral being dismantled

Full version (with electronic medium)
Solo version (without electronic medium)

This is what turned my Exercises, from a personal life-saving endeavor, into an unfathomable outcry against a world of technologically advancing, but spiritually decaying humans.

Two unhappy children in a refugee camp

In its current form, the Survival Exercises essentially retain what used to be Book Two of the previous, much longer version, occasionally reusing material from the Book One in the newly added, superimposed electronic medium.

In the realm of today’s ludicrous dissonances, the piece daringly brings a shockingly rough, simple and fair music, some will shy away from accepting as enjoyable. Yet, these modest solo bassoon etudes (which is just what they are, in fact) aim nothing less than make the nowadays classical music listener rediscover the pleasure of hearing a seemly harmony, a musically meaningful discourse, an upright musical theme (one to hum on the way back home).

The piece was dubbed Musing for Bassoon Solo, which reveals the author’s intention of picking up, and musically consuming a few defining, profoundly human meditation topics. Thus, there are five musings, attempting to cover both the spiritual and visceral facets of the human being:

I. On Death, and its lucrative remembering
An upward quest of a salient musical mark to build on. Also, an insidious recollection of Eastern hermits’ teachings, which held the perpetual remembrance of death as the ground of man’s standing improvement.

II. On Life, and its ruthless waltz
Sort of a gloomy waltz, built on the musical findings of the previous section. Somewhat conveys the paradoxical nature of the restricted human life, meant to essentially endure a perpetual state of mortality.

III. On Marriage, and the way she leaves me silent
More of an interlude, a rather sarcastic plunge in the mundane substance that fills everyone’s day-to-day life.

IV. On Love, Youth, Shady Benches, and that old barrel organ man
A lovingly out-of-its-time musical novelette, cheerfully upheld by the supporting “concrete music” behind. Sends the listener into a tremendous time or place of perpetual youth, where people candidly still fall in love with life and each other.

V. Epilogue, on the much too distant sunset vespers
A pensive, sad remembrance of the days before the lifeless matter soaked up man’s immortal spirit. A recollection of times when people still believed in God. Not by chance, the supporting electronic medium echoes an early Christian chant, reinforcing the author’s opinion that the only way to cure today’s nothingness disease is to return to our spiritual roots.

The electronic medium this new version features alternates synthesized soundscapes with concrete music, also adding some virtual instruments in the mix. They closely relate to the topic of the musing, they consort with, and either challenge or advocate the basoonist’s demarche.

The electronic medium can be either manually launched by the player, from a mobile device or laptop connected to the concert hall’s speaker system, or automatically, by a score following program such as the Antescofo software developed by IRCAM, and available as a module for either Max or PureData platforms.

The full score is available as a printable PDF file. A typicall performance takes aproximately 8 minutes. Make sure you obtain author’s written permission before any public representation of this work, whether for profit or not.

Thank you, and enjoy!

This work received the jury’s honorable mention during the 2016 issue of the “Stefan Niculescu” composition contest held by the National University of Music in Bucharest.

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