52 Weeks – Week 11 – Endurance
Today’s piece of music: Mvmt. 2 of “Mixed Quintet? You Bet!” entitled
This was the second part of the strangely-titled “Mixed Quintet? You Bet!” project from my freshman BYU year. The object of this particular part was to create something humorous, so I came up with this weird poem:
There once was a man from Nantucket
Who could hold his breath for over thirteen minutes
Here now is his story.
This man had a brother, who, try as he might
Could not hold his breath as long
So instead he decided to give up that racket
And now he’s written this song:
The older one went to the younger one day
And saw that something was wrong
He asked “Little brother, what’s the matter with you?”
And in return he heard this song:
The older one laughed and smiled and laughed as he said,
“Young one, there’s no need to fear!
For you are a cello player, you see,
And can play a note for a year!”
The younger one thought he’d try it out,
And so one note did he play
He played it year in and he played it year out
And he’s playing it still to this day!
The conceits were: the older one (the baritone player) actually couldn’t hold his breath very long, which is why he suddenly stops playing and starts wheezing near the beginning. Everyone else stops and waits for him to catch his breath, then they begin again! Hilarious! Then, when the younger one’s plight is heard in “this song,” the main theme of the work is played at varying dissonances: first a tritone, then a minor second. So sad! Finally, on the line “one note did he play” the cellist plays a note and holds it for the rest of the piece! The note is even still being held when movement 3 starts (which I may get to someday as part of this whole thing)! Ha ha!
Anyway, this was a fun piece to do. We weren’t allowed to talk to the performers about the piece, so I have no idea what was going through their heads, but it must have been a bit disconcerting, as the violin enters early after the second stanza, which is why you hear some guy loudly singing the actual entrance. That was our illustrious teacher, Mr. Murray Boren, who conducted all these pieces. I got some fun compliments on the tune from the other students in the class. Apparently they thought I’d be a good kids’ songwriter. You know, for kids! That’s as well as maybe, and who knows? Maybe I’ll end up going that way some day.
Coming up next week: “Bens!” Obviously a collaboration!