for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano
I have decided to share a synthesised recording of Two v One today and give a little explanation of the piece. The recording is pretty good but there are a couple of moments in the cadenzas that are a bit strange e.g grace notes in the clarinet solo near the start!
Composed for bassoonist and friend Iona Garvie the piece is based loosely on the idea of a finale from a Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta. Iona and I spent many years playing for an Opera company in Ealing, London and they form some of the fondest and most enjoyable moments in my flute playing. We always had such a laugh and there was always the terror of something not quite going right. One such moment where it did go very wrong was in The Mikado where I believe singer and orchestra tried very hard to catch each other to no avail and we had to start the aria again! I will always play a Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta if asked!
Hence the idea for Two v One was born. Coming in at around 15 minutes to perform the piece is split into 4 parts that run continuously. Interspersed throughout the piece are cadenzas for each instrument to show off. There is a moment of speech within the piece (see image below) where the clarinet pretends to forget to come in and the Bassoon and Piano voice their displeasure. Clarinet and Bassoon play the role of what I can only describe as two naughty children who do not do as they are told with the Piano playing the long suffering mum who is never far away from administering a spanking to her children to keep them in line! My own childhood perhaps influencing the story of the piece!
Broken down the four parts are: 1. Prelude and Aria, 2. Scherzo, 3. Nocturne and 4. Agitato. I believe this to be an incredibly challenging work for the performers and there are probably some revisions to the score that need to happen. However the piece is with UMP at this link https://ump.co.uk/catalogue/smith-matt-two-v-one/ and I am mildly pleased with it. Here is the score for the last two pages: