12/20/2014
Jos. A. Baran

Story

For the summer of 1971 I agreed to babysit a spinet for my theory/composition/piano instructor who was going home to visit her family in California. I dated her sister, a violist. With the piano at my disposal I promised to compose a piece for the two sisters. To say the least I never finished the project. So, some 43 years later I finally got around to it; better late than never, huh?

Not knowing where to begin, I decided to listen to the selections that my instructor performed at a faculty recital. The composers were Mozart, Brahms, Granados and Bartok. Mozart and Bartok got more of my attention. Listen for the influences. (There’s also a little Sinatra and John Lennon lurking about.)

I consider this a duet because the piano has a little more to do than just accompany. The piece follows the European Symphonic Sonata format I’ve been following in the past. Exposition One is in Bb Maj to Eb Maj to Bb Maj. Exposition Two transitions through major keys F – Bb – C – F – Bb – F. The Development is in Bb Major then G Major. The Recapitulation begins in Bb, transitions to Eb then modulates to Db. (Although the key change is a step lower it gives the impression of moving upward.) And the Coda ends in Bb where we began.

08/19/2014
Jos. A. Baran

Story

This composition for string quartet follows the European Symphonic Sonata format. Starting with the Exposition the first subject is introduced and transitions into the second subject which is in a different key. From there the Development begins which is based on the Exposition and features variations on the themes. The Exposition ends with a brief Codetta that leads into the Recapitulation. The Recapitulation is a shorter version of the Exposition with the second subject in the same key. The piece ends with a Coda that shares features of the Codetta.Although it sounds as if it is in the key of E minor the piece is in C Major.

 

09/01/2014
Jos. A. Baran

Story

This composition for string quartet follows the European Symphonic Sonata format as well. It has a folk rock influence.

10/01/2014
Jos. A. Baran

Story

This piece is a version based on a pop/rock song ("In Your Mind") from my second album ("POKE!")

 

10/01/2014
Jos. A. Baran

Story

Like my previous compositions for the string quartet this one follows the European Symphonic Sonata format as well, but with a little twist:  the first subject of the Exposition is a 12-tone row. The row was determined by the roll of a 12-sided music-note dice cube.  The original string of notes had three 2-note clashes (25% of the row) I couldn’t accept and so artistic license prevailed. Three swaps later there was a tone row I could work with.  (I didn’t log the changes.)

The second subject couldn’t be based on a change in key so I reversed the row. It is focused on off-kilter rhythms.

In the beginning (and at the Recapitulation) a fugue-like approach is used in the first subject.

For the Development, the first three notes of subject #1 row are played then followed by a 12-note run of 8th-note triplets from subject #2  row.  The process is repeated for the remaining notes in subject #1.  During this sequence, subject #2 is repeated as before but modulated.

10/01/2014
Jos. A. Baran

Story

This piece is intended for younger students. The range is limited from C2 to C#5. Tempo is moderate. The structure again follows the symphonic format used in the previous string quartet compositions but condensed down to a mini-symphony.  The first Exposition keys are C Major for the A segments and F Major for the B segments. There is a transition in G Major leading into Exposition #2 which is in D Major. At D1, the Development, we’re back in C Major. There is a brief Rondo with Violin 2 playing counterpoint in the key of F Major against the C Major. Rhythm and ear-training.

 

11/01/2014
Jos. A. Baran

Story

String Quartet #6 started the week before Halloween (my favorite time of year) and wrapped up on November 7th, 2014. I had images of spirits rising from their graves. The piece does not follow any standard format. Each string adopts the opening violincello arpeggio which is based on a C7b5 with the melody based on a C whole-tone scale. Part way through, the piece modulates to Db7b5 for the Db whole-tone scale. Violin has some double-stops. Rhythmically, this 2’01” piece is challenging, primarily making use of 16th-note/rest triplets throughout and using the occasional 32-note off-set.  I call the playing style Deciso Roboto (decisively robotic).

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