Wednesday, October 14, 2009

pieces in my head (part 1)

Being one of the few classically trained bassists in Trinidad, it is difficult to find a common grond with people who are of my standard on the instrument. Very few people have been able to maintain a conversation about actually playing the instrument at a high level and the challenges that they face as such. As a result of this, there are not many people who could share the appreciation for some of the music that have been transcribed for bass. One such piece that I have been unable to get out of my head is "Apres un reve" by Gabriel Faure. This piece has the potential to sound quite passionate once intonation and technique are looked at with great detail. Being one of his famous "chansons", I have realised that it is very important to ensure that one plays this piece with the type of expression that would have been common for people who would have come out of the romantic aesthetic. Romantic music has tended to move towards the more expressive side and this piece should be dealt with as such. The background from which the song is written serves to illustrate this great deal of emotion that the composer appears to be feeling at that particular point in time and as such, is desirous of the listener to understand and interpret the song accordingly. Initially set for voice and piano accompaniment, the lyrics of this piece set a tone of yearning for times past when true love was present in the persona's immediate time. Natural imagery is used to convey a sense of beauty that is so near to perfection that it can only be compared to nature that has been created by some sort of divine imagination. Such beauty and love entrances the persona to such a large degree that he yearns to be one with his one true love even after the dream is over. His dreams are inspired by real life interactions with his muse and his dreams also serve to fuel his love by reminding him about the pure nature of his love's beauty. Returning to his slumber would aid in ensuring that the persona's understanding of his love remains as pure as he believes it to be.
  The double bass would be the perfect instrument to convey this sense of yearning and desire that is characteristic of this piece. The depth and low pitch of this instrument allows for greater range and greater opportunity to really aid in delivering the entire sense of wanting, isolation and desire. Having started to learn to play this piece on bass, I could really gain some true insight into how Faure may have been feeling at the time in which he would have written this piece. The first section of the piece sets a sombre mood which is heighted by its faint cresendos, decresendos and slow pace. The remainder of this piece would be played in a higher pitch. However, it seems to create a bit more complexity of feeling while at the same time maintaining the overall sense of isolation and despair. The dynamics of the piece, along with the low pitch of the bass, together contribute to ensuring that the general mood and possible initial intention of the composer is maintained, thus showing that this piece (in my humblest opinion) is probably best performed on bass.

This is simply my own opinion of a piece that I believe is so beautiful and refreshing. Others may have their own interpretation which they are free to express. However, Im sure other bass players exposed to this piece would have to agree or add to what was mentioned earlier

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