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By Greg Brown

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5 bassoons, piano
Composed by Greg Brown. Score and parts. Published by TrevCo Music Publishing (VC.1939).

Item Number: VC.1939

Smoke was written as the first of a four-movement work for bassoon with Digital Delay and Piano, entitled "this moment". Each movement was inspired by photographs taken by the composer, and posted on the social media mobile app, Instagram. One bassoon was plugged into a computer programmed to repeat, in myriad fashions, what the live bassoonist played. As such, the properties of the delay plugins are inspired by the visual detail of each photograph while the subject and aesthetic of the photo inspired each movement's treatment of the musical material. The music for this arrangement was based on a photo of smoke hovering above a field in the late afternoon, the aftermath of a firecracker on a clear July day.

Smoke is meant to be a separate musical object from the original four-movement work. The 5 bassoons essentially play what was computer-generated delay. Where before, one bassoon played and the digital delay created a canon, here each bassoon is a part of that canon. In the first section, there is a 4-beat canon at the unison. After a piano solo, the second section weaves a 6-beat accompaniment in the fashion of a looper-pedal, and the final section is a canon whose closing is a reprise of the first section's bassoon lines.

This piece is dedicated to Ryan Romine, the commissioner of "this moment", for his committment to the bassoon repertoire, and for his witty, humble, and delightful attitude.

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