Mosaïques sonores
for solo tuba

Maya Badian
Composer
Maya Badian
Composition Date: 1990
Revision Date: 1994
Duration: 00:07:00
Genre: Brass, Solo / Ensemble, Tuba

Instrumentation:

Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Tuba
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Programme Note:
MOSAÏQUES SONORES for Tuba Solo is part of an open cycle of compositions that I dedicate to solo instruments exploring, at different levels, the idiomatic writing - technical and expressive possibilities - of the instrument, along with the relationship between the sound as a natural, physic element and its metamorphosis into the arts of sounds, the musical meaning. When I compose, I try to identify myself with the instrument for which I write. Even if at first sight composing for a solo instrument appears easier, it is actually more difficult than to compose for orchestral ensembles. The composer has to apply parameters generally attributed to an ensemble or to a large orchestra (melody, harmony, polyphony, rhythm, register and other musical parameters) to the single instrument at the composer’s disposal. I also take into consideration the evolution of instruments and their techniques: A lot of features impossible to be performed some decades ago are easily accomplished today!

MOSAÏQUES SONORES for Tuba Solo applies an idiomatic writing for the tuba including glissandos, “kissing sounds” in the instrument, scratching the nails on the bell, hit the mouth-piece with the hand, stamping the foot (or feet), throat singing above the played sounds, screaming into the instrument (indeterminate pitch), screaming without instrument (indeterminate pitch).

Quote from: "Maya Badian, Her Life and Her Music: A Privilege to Soar" by Fred Popovici, published by Pro Ars Publications, Ottawa, Canada, 2010: MOSAIQUES SONORES for Solo Tuba and Acting composed by Maya Badian in 1990 and published by Lucian Badian Editions in Canada, 1993, is structured in three movements: The first [Ironicamente - Lento, ad libitum] and the third movements [Burlesco - Rubato], elaborated in a free tempo, gravitate around a well measured second movement [Deciso - Moderato].

This particular composition implies Instrumental Theatre, a technique that is immediately apparent from the beginning of the work, especially through its movements' titles, and the abundance of spectacular sonorous effects found in the avant-garde music of the late 20th-century. Such effects as frullato, glissando, "kissing sounds," screaming (both into the instrument or away from the instrument), percussive effects obtained through hitting the mouthpiece and the bell, guttural singing into the instrument or rhythmical stamping with the feet on the floor are ingeniously used in this composition. In addition, there is an intentionally fractured discourse, involving continuous change of register, using the extreme zones of tuba's range, and improvisatory moments.

The architectural structure of the whole work seems to be free, mosaic-like (as is denoted by its title), however once thoroughly analyzed, the content reveals a clear, coherent thought and solid compositional skills. Of course, this is not a sonata in the classical-romantic sense of the word, but rather a monumental contemporary solo work based on well-structured and profound artistic thinking. Mosaïques Sonores certainly will establish a long life in the repertoire dedicated to the tuba solo.

The first movement, Ironicamente, opens impetuously with a long sound in frullato that broadens to the extent of a cry into the instrument. From the outset, it announces the apocalyptic sonorous dimensions that can be followed through the development of the work - extreme intensities produced by an extreme instrument. As the first and third movements do not use bar lines, referral points will be employed for this analysis, since the page layout proposed by Badian was designed with plan and purpose.

Synthesizing the first page of the score - which could be considered the expositive structure of the first movement - one becomes aware of the contrast between the destiny motive, defined by leaps of thirds and fourths in strict rhythm, and the improvisatory element, in a free rhythm, however based on a predominantly diatonic stepwise pace. The second page of the score opens with a more liberated form of the diatonic scale that precedes the improvisatory boxes. It begins with a simple chant of a melopee that generates a contrasting contour, consisting of increasingly nervous and fractured sounds, with large and spectacular jumps. It is a doïna-like melody, with repetitions and ornamental elements of folkloric inspiration. DECISO, the second movement, in a Moderato tempo, contrasts the two surrounding movements, through its strict rhythmical notation of the neo-classical type, and through its clarity of form. It culminates with a crescendo passage that concludes with a climactic presentation of a long f-sharp in a hyper-acute register of the tuba in fff. BURLESCO, the last movement of the cycle, is actually a large recapitulation of the first. This movement is also written in a Rubato tempo, without bar lines, and therefore seems less structured.

Maya Badian proposes a mirrored recapitulation, inverting the order of sounds' appearances. Certain rhythmical elements of the first movement are distorted, condensed or amplified at the duration level, or varied through leaps into octaves, while others appear identically, with a recognizable profile. Mosaïques sonores' constituent parts are all ingredients sourcing from a common magma, similar to the different coloured pieces of a vitrail [stained glass window] that are made from a common source of sand. Through compositional mastery, these components are developed and unified, creating a true mosaic of sounds - Mosaïques sonores.

DECISO, the second movement, in a Moderato tempo, contrasts the two surrounding movements, through its strict rhythmical notation of the neo-classical type, and through its clarity of form. It culminates with a crescendo passage that concludes with a climactic presentation of a long f-sharp in a hyper-acute register of the tuba in fff.
BURLESCO, the last movement of the cycle, is actually a large recapitulation of the first. This movement is also written in a Rubato tempo, without bar lines, and therefore seems less structured.

Maya Badian proposes a mirrored recapitulation, inverting the order of sounds' appearances. Certain rhythmical elements of the first movement are distorted, condensed or amplified at the duration level, or varied through leaps into octaves, while others appear identically, with a recognizable profile.

Mosaïques sonores' constituent parts are all ingredients sourcing from a common magma, similar to the different coloured pieces of a vitrail [stained glass window] that are made from a common source of sand. Through compositional mastery, these components are developed and unified, creating a true mosaic of sounds - Mosaïques sonores.


Premiere Information:
12 September 2006, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Bethányi Church, Ottawa, Ontario
Nicholas Atkinson, tuba

CATALOGUE INFO:

  • Call Number:
  • MI 6114 B136m
  • Genre:
  • Brass, Solo / Ensemble, Tuba
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • February 24, 1995
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (19 p.) ;
    19 Pages
    Height: 30 cm
    Width: 23 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • I. Ironicamente -- II. Deciso -- III. Burlesco.
    For unaccompanied tuba.
    Composed in 1990.
    Duration: 7:00
    Manuscript deposited in the Fonds Maya-Badian MUS 228, Music Division, National Library of Canada.

    MOSAÏQUES SONORES, INSTRUMENTAL THEATRE for Tuba Solo and Acting is available as well.
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