Friday, January 30, 2015

Spam Roundup, January, 2015

There's spam, and then there's spam so oddly written it's somewhat amusing. Here's a roundup of some of the "best" comments I received this month from spambots around the world. 

It looks like spam filters have been improved recently -- there's a dramatic drop off in non-human comments. But a few gems still managed to get through...

Fractured phrases

- What i do not realize is actually how you're no longer actually much more neatly-liked than you may be now. You already know therefore signficantly in terms of this subject, made me in my view consider it froom a lot of various angles. Your own stuffs outstanding. Always handle it up!
[Handle it up? I can't even handle your syntax!]

- You manages to hit the nail upon the highest as smartly as defined out the entire thing with no need side-effects , folks can take a signal.
[You heard the man -- take a signal, people!]

- Thank you, it was very interestingly!
[You're welcomely.]

- When some one searches for his essential thing, so he/she wishes to be available that in detail, thus that thing is maintained over here. When someone writes an piece of writing he/she retains the image of a user in his/her brain that how a user can understand it.
[I'm having a hard time picturing the he/she/it that wrote this.]

Who would have thought that lumber truck in the
foreground would generate so much commentary?
Lumbering along and still going strong

The Straco Layout, Part 23 - Lumbering along, my post describing an inexpensive early 60's Japanese tin toy truck remains one of my most commented-on posts. Although little of it seems to have anything to do with the subject of the post.

- This is very interesting. I've shared your websites in myy social netowrks! Here is my homepage Miami exotic car Rental.
[Soooo, this toy truck relates to exotic rental cars because... it's from Japan?]

Great article. My page... click here
[It's like they're not even trying anymore.]

Wow, this paragraph is pleasant, my sister is analyzing these kinds of things, so I am going to inform her.
[Your sister needs a new hobby.]

Fastidious fades

For a while, a significant number of spam posts used, or rather misused, the word fastidious. Over the last few months, I've only received a few. Perhaps their translations programs have been updated.

I am a regular visitor, how are you everybody? This article posted at this web page is truly fastidious.
[Well, we try.]

And that's all for the first month of year. Remember, always hit the nail in the highest, and your truly fastidious efforts will make folks take the signal -- with no harmful side-effects.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Stanford Piano Trio 2, Piano Quartet 1 -- Brahms with an Irish lilt

To my ears, Stanford's music has always sounded like Brahms with an Irish accent. That's not a bad thing. Like Brahms, Stanford constructed his music within accepted classical frameworks. But within those frameworks he crafts his motifs and harmonies with a great deal of imagination.

Which is what makes this new Naxos release a pleasure to listen to. His second piano trio of 1898 might be heavily influenced by Brahms, but it doesn't imitate him. Stanford's melodies -- particularly in the slow movement -- have a glide and lilt to them that are missing in those of his Germanic colleague.

The first piano quartet of 1899 is a work of a composer in full command of his talent. While it's modeled on the piano piano quartet of Brahms, there are some interesting differences that make the Brahms more of a starting point then a parallel journey. Brahms' quartet is in G minor, while Stanford's is in F major, making it sound brighter and giving it a lighter mood.

As with the trio, the real treat is the slow movement, where Stanford can just let his melodies sing. And Stanford's final movement is a little more formal than Brahms' rondo, giving the quartet a strong and forceful ending.

With this recording, the Gould Piano Trio complete their traversal of Stanford's three trios. That experience with his music shows. The trio bring out all the romantic expressiveness of the music, while maintaining a precise ensemble sound. Highly recommended to anyone who loves Brahms and/or chamber music.

Charles Villiers Stanford
Piano Trio No. 2 in G minor, Op. 73; Piano Quartet No. 1 in F maor, Op. 15 Gould Piano Trio; David Adams, viola Naxos 8.573388

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Poul Ruders: Nightshade Trilogy

What started out as a simple chamber work has blossomed into a trilogy -- and a remarkably cohesive one at that. Poul Ruders composed "Nightshade" for the 10-member chamber group Capricorn in 1987 (and it was released on Bridge Records in 1993).

A commission by a chamber orchestra prompted Ruders to compose "Second Nightshade" (1991), which expanded on the ideas of the first work. "Final Nightshade" (2003), a work for full orchestra, completed the trilogy begun 15 years before.

Although each work stands on its own merits, hearing them in sequence as a trilogy is revealing. Overall, the "Nightshade Trilogy remind me somewhat of Schoenberg's "Verklarte Nacht," with its pervading dark and sometimes unsettling mood.

As I listened to the trilogy, I heard threads connecting the parts. Each iteration heightens the intensity of expression, as Ruders adds more instruments to his sonic palette. Overall, the works create a mood of quiet unrest. "Final Nightshade" especially features long, sustained chords with melodic fragments that slowly unfold in their midst.

Though recorded in different venues by different producers over the course of a decade, the sound is remarkably consistent throughout the album. That consistency helps the listener hear the trilogy as a whole, rather than three discrete pieces.

Poul Ruders: Nightshade Trilogy
Nightshade, The Second Nightshade, Final Nightshade
Capricorn; Oliver Knussen, conductor
Odense Symphony Orchestra; Paul Mann, Scott Yoo, conductors
Bridge Records

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Twitterdämmerung: The Twitter Opera

I remember reading somewhere that French composer Jean Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) claimed he could use just about anything for an opera libretto -- even a newspaper article. (Judging by the quality of operas like Platée, I believe it.)

The Royal Opera House made news recently with the performance of their Twitter-driven opera, Twitterdämmerung.

The premise was simple enough. In 2009, about 700 Twitter followers contributed (in 140-character increments) to create a libretto. And, considering the sources and everyone's efforts to throw monkey wrenches (or spanners) into the works, the resulting effort works surprisingly well. (Read the complete libretto on the Royal Opera House website.)

Composers Helen Porter and Marc Teitler set the text, and this alternate-world 19th-century style opera was staged.

Is this the wave of the future? Well, probably not. But it was a great way for audiences to get engaged in a work. Is it the greatest opera ever written? Well, no (no offence to Porter and Teitler). Crowd sourcing precludes any unified artistic vision. But at the same time, something wonderful and fun was created that simply could not have come about before the rise of social media.

Which leads me to my only complaint. I've read about Twitterdämmerung, and I've watched the Royal Opera House's sample video (above). But that's it. I can't experience the work any more fully. There is no complete performance available online -- either as an audio or as a video recording.

Which means that this very 21st century opera can only be experienced the same way operas were in Rameau's day. Seen and heard by a few in live performance, and only read about after the fact by many.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Diabelli Project 076 - Wind Trio

The Diabelli Project is about offering my weekly flash-composition sketches freely to all. Like Antonio Diabelli's theme these sketches aren't great music. But perhaps (as in Diabelli's case) there's a Beethoven out there who can do great things with them.

Early in my composing career I wrote a set of three wind trios, each for a different combination of instruments (you can hear the first one on Soundcloud - Wind Trio No. 1, Op. 13). It's a good genre for me to revisit. I think I'll develop this piece further at some point in the near future. (click on image to enlarge)

Although I might write more, that doesn't make this sketch off limits. As with all the Diabelli Project sketches, I offer this freely to anyone who would like to use all or part of it. Just let me know the results!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

George Enescu: Complete Works for Violin and Piano

Among his many talents, Romanian composer George Enescu was a violinist and a pianist -- which makes the music on this 2-CD set so fascinating. The larger works, such as his three sonatas for violin and piano are the Enescu of the symphonic world.

Like his orchestral works, the three sonatas feature flowing melodies, harmonies and syncopation enriched by Slavic folk traditions. The sonatas were written during the first part of Enescu's career, and all owe something to the late-romanticism of his youth (although that influence was somewhat removed by the time the third sonata was written in 1926). If you like Enescu's orchestral output, you'll find these worthy companion pieces.

But I found the shorter works really made this an outstanding collection. There are some characteristic pieces from the turn of the century that are suitably tuneful. for for me, I found the 1940 "Impressions d'Enfance" to be the most interesting work int the program.

Enescu sets scenes from his childhood in a series of brief vignettes that boil them down to their emotional essence. Some of the selections are surprisingly forward-looking, using the extreme range of the violin to maximum effect.

Violinist Remus Azoitei and pianist Eduard Stan perform well individually, and as a team. Hanssler's recording quality was good, although sometimes the violin sounded a little pinched to me. Still, there was excellent balance between piano and violin, and the mostly dry acoustic helped me hear the subtle interplay between the instruments more clearly.

George Ensecu: Complete Works for Violin and Piano
Remus Azoitei, violin; Eduard Stan, piano
Hanssler Classic 98.035
2 CD Set

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stephen Douglas Burton: Symphony No. 2 "Ariel"

The "Ariel" subtitle of this symphony doesn't refer to the lovable Disney mermaid. Rather, it's the favorite horse of Syliva Plath, which inspired one of her poems, and< the title of the poetry collection Burton selected his texts from.

Burton matches the often disturbing beauty of Plath's poetry with richly scored post-romantic music. He also makes this a vocal symphony, with each movement presenting a sung version of its poem.

The outer movements, "Ariel - The Night Dances," and "The Moon and Yew Tree," are stylistically similar,and serve to frame the middle movements. Diane Curry has a warm mezzo-soprano voice that to me sounds a little indefinite around the edges. But for the dreamlike nature of "Ariel" and "The Moon.." it actually adds to the mystery of Plath's images.

Baritone Stephen Dickson sang all the movements in the premier of this symphony, although in this recording he alternates with Curry (save for the last movement).

The poem of the fourth movement, "Daddy," uses Nazi imagery to describe an abusive father -- from the daughter's point of view. Burton's decision to have a baritone sing it (when a female voice was available) makes the poem even more disturbing, I think.

Burton has created a soundscape that does justice to Plath, and complex emotions she tried to express through her poetry. To my ears, "Ariel" is the aesthetic heir to Mahler's late symphonies.

Stephen Douglas Burton: Symphony No. 2 "Ariel"
Diane Curry, mezzo-soprano; Stephen Dickson, baritone; Syracuse Symphony Orchestra; Christopher Keene, conductor

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lio and the Fourth Wall 8

In his comic strip Lio Mark Tartulli often incorporates the unseen conventions of the genre into his humor, breaking the fourth wall in a way. (see Lio and the Fourth Wall for other examples).

In his 10/4/14 strip, Tartulli uses the panel border in an usual way (click on image to enlarge).

Panel borders are ever-present -- and never seen. Convention dictates that they're outside of the strip's action, in the same way that a frame isn't consider part of the image it's framing. Tartulli's gag is clever -- and by making us aware of something we take for granted, it's doubly so.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Diabelli Project 075 - Percussion Trio

The Diabelli Project is about offering my weekly flash-composition sketches freely to all. Like Antonio Diabelli's theme these sketches aren't great music. But perhaps (as in Diabelli's case) there's a Beethoven out there who can do great things with them.

One good thing about writing percussion music -- most of the instruments only have a few tonal options, which makes the writing go faster. As you can see, I got quite far into this sketch before time ran out. I had written a percussion trio before as part of this series (see: Diabelli Project 055). In that sketch, one player had a tamborine. Another had timbales, but it could be part of a larger collection of drums that might include a snare drum. So potentially, this could be another part of the same piece. )(click on images to enlarge)

I might stitch the two sketches together, but you don't have to. What happens next? That's up to you. As with all the Diabelli Project sketches, I offer this freely to anyone who would like to use all or part of it. Just let me know the results!

Here's what the original looked like -- I think you'll agree it's much more readable in its current incarnation.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Aging Sally Forth

Aging in comic strips is always a problem -- usually it's one that's simply ignored. Dennis the Menace will always be 5 going on 6. Garfield the comic strip has run longer then the natural lifespan of a cat (even one with good eating habits). And so one.

A few strips let their characters age, such as the first iteration of For Better or Worse, or Gasoline Alley (see: For Better or Worse - the Aging Process). Usually, though, the creators make a choice. But not every creator isn't Francesco Marciuliano, who's had fun with comics conventions before. (see my previous posts about Sally Forth)

Pay close attention to the second panel in this September 14, 2014 sequence of Sally Forth.  (click on image to enlarge)

One child ages, while the other remains 12. Best not to look at that too closely, or indeed, the whole system will fall apart. But for the observant reader, Ted's warning provides some additional humor.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Falletta and Buffalo Philharmonic Excel with Early Bartok

A young Bela Bartók wrote he was "roused as by a clap of thunder at the first performance of Also sprach Zarathustra. The work brought me to a pitch of enthusiasm. I felt a reaching out to something new. I threw myself into the study of Strauss."

That inspiration is quite evident in this collection of early orchestral works by Bartók. Kossuth -- Symphonic Poem (1903) is deliberately modeled on Richard Strauss' Ein Heldenleben, and conveys the same sense of high drama. Bartók is never far from his Hungarian roots, though, and this saga of Kossuth the Freedom Fighter is infused with the flavor of Hungarian folk song.

Bartók's Suite No. 1 for Orchestra, Op. 3 (1905) also shows the strong influence of Strauss, and (to my ears) Wagner. Each short movement seems to be an opportunity for Bartók to show off his skill at orchestrating a particular mood. Although the music sounds more like Bartók's influences than his own voice, it's still dramatic, tuneful, and entertaining.

The Two Portraits, Op. 5 were completed in 1908. Bartók had composed his first violin concerto for Stefi Geyer, who spurned his advances (but kept the manuscript). These two works for violin and orchestra contain remnants of that concerto, plus other music intended for Geyer. The heartbreak behind their composition comes through in Bartók's post-romantic music.

Violinist Michael Ludwig performs admirably in the Portraits. He conveys the raw emotion behind the music without making it sound maudlin.

Maestro Falletta isn't afraid to revel in the richness of this music, and the Buffalo Philharmonic has the chops to pull it off. The warm, full sound of the ensemble is well-suited to young Bartok's music, bringing out the similarities between the composer and his influences.

Bela Bartók: Kossuth; Two Portraits, Op. 5, Suite No. 1, Op. 3
Michael Ludwig, violin; Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Naxos 8.573307

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Paul Lansky: Textures and Threads

This release presents two fairly recent and near-related Paul Lansky works: "Textures," (2012-13) for two pianists and two percussionists, and "Threads," (2005) for four percussionists.

"Textures" examines the shifting role of the piano. It's a melodic instrument, but it it's also a percussion instrument, produces sound by strking hammers against strings. Contrast that with more traditional percussion instruments (like drums), which can also be melodic instruments of indefinite pitch.

In "Textures," Lansky shifts the viewpoint back and forth. Sometimes he has the pianos hammer percussively while the percussion instruments weave delicate melodies, sometimes the reverse. Sometimes he has both act like indefinite pitched instruments, sometimes all play melodically. Lansky's changing viewpoints keep the listener engaged (or at least this listener).

"Threads," is just for percussion, but it's a battery of instruments the four players perform on. Again, Lansky plays with various combinations, contrasting wood and metal, definite and indefinite pitch, sticks and woolen mallets creating a compelling work that's rightly become a favorite among percussion ensembles.

Well-crafted works by an American master.

Paul Lansky: Textures and Threads
Time Travellers
Bridge Records

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The O-Gauge Zen Garden Gets Greener

It's been a while since I've done anything major to my O-gauge Zen garden. And that's OK. The layout's operational, and there's no timeline for any project. But I finally decided to do something about that bare mountain top. Painting the plaster surface with green, brown, and gray to represent grass, dirt, and rock respectively was fine -- for a while. (click on images to enlarge)

It's plain to see this is too plain.

So I did a simple two-stage improvement. There's more I could do, but this works for now.

The greening of the green

The first thing I did was improve the grassy knolls by laying down a more realistic -- and textured layer of grass. I invested in a bag of Woodland Scenics ground cover, and a bottle of spray glue.

I started by covering the brown and gray areas of the mountain, leaving the green sections exposed. I then sprayed a layer of glue onto the green surface.

I then sprinkled the grass onto the sticky surface. Some of it clumped a little, but that was OK. After I had thoroughly covered all the exposed surfaces, I went back over it with the spray glue, adding a second layer of adhesive. The glue dried clear, leaving no apparent trace. 

But that second coat ensured that most of the grass particles remained in place. Now the stage was set for the second phase.

The Forestation Drill

I purchased two different sets of trees from the Old Neighborhood Market. Since my goal isn't to create a super-realistic layout, I had the option of buying quantity, rather than quality. Not that the trees I purchased are bad, but they don't have the same level of detail as those used by more serious modelers. 

To "plant" a tree, I used a drill bit that was slightly smaller than the tree trunk and drilled into the plaster surface. 

 I then put a dab of white glue into the hole and then inserted the tree. The screen mesh under the plaster provided a base for the tree, while the white glue held the tree in the true vertical position I placed it in (after it dried, of course). 

Below are the results. By placing the trees in the green patches, I think I achieved some of the randomness one finds in nature. After all, most trees don't grow out of rocks. And while I could have put some in the dirt areas, I think having them exposed suggests erosion.

So what's next? I'd like to add some dirt to the brown patches, to give them more texture. And I'd like to do something to the rock faces to make them look less representational. But not yet. I'll need to think about that for a while.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Diabelli Project 074 - Piece for solo oboe

The Diabelli Project is about offering my weekly flash-composition sketches freely to all. Like Antonio Diabelli's theme these sketches aren't great music. But perhaps (as in Diabelli's case) there's a Beethoven out there who can do great things with them.

A while ago I dashed off another piece for solo oboe (see: Diabelli Project 065), but this one's different. The previous sketch was in 6/8 time, this one has no fixed meter. Of course, they could be different movements of a much larger work. 065 centers around A, while this one has D as a tonal center. Hmmm. (click on image to enlarge)

I might make my two solo oboe sketches part of the same work, but you don't have to. What happens next? That's up to you. As with all the Diabelli Project sketches, I offer this freely to anyone who would like to use all or part of it. Just let me know the results!

Friday, January 09, 2015

CCC 122 - Patrick Zimmerli

According to his website, "New York- and Paris-based composer/saxophonist Patrick Zimmerli writes a sophisticated yet approachable hybrid of contemporary classical and jazz music." And that's why Zimmerli is this week's Consonant Classical Challenge profile.

Zimmerli's style might be considered a logical extension of George Gershwin's. Like Gershwin, Zimmerli uses the jazz vernacular of his time as the building blocks for his classical compositions.

His works capture the sound of the present, and should be instantly accessible to just about everyone. Zimmerli's harmonic language is tonal, although often with very thick tone clusters (as is common in some styles of jazz).

Thick harmonic textures in the final movement of his Concerto No. 2 for piano, string orchestra, and percussion. This movement is highly rhythmic, with the percussion section simulating a drum set (with a few other instruments besides). It provides a foundation for the music, which might otherwise sound disjointed. Instead, it lets Zimmerli play the orchestra off against the piano with dramatic results.

Veni Creator Spiritus is a traditional sacred text that Zimmerli gives a fresh, open sound to. One can still hear jazz inflections in the chords. Traditionally, composers have set this text contrapuntally. Zimmerli makes effective use of parallel motion and unison to keep the delivery of the text clear.

In the solo piano work, Songs Without Words #3, Zimmerli blurs the lines between jazz and classical. The chords and some of the melodic turns are jazz-inspired, but the structure of the work and the way he works out the motives belongs more the classical.

While still staying in the classical camp, the Piano Trio No. 2 gets as close to jazz as a fully-written out piece can. And that's what gives it buoyancy and energy. By making this trio a through-composed work, Zimmerli is able to develop his motives in a straight-forward logical progression.

My first reaction to Patrick Zimmerli's music was that it was fun to listen to. And that's something that classical audiences don't get enough of. But with repeated listening, I came to understand how substantial Zimmerli's works truly are. Like Gershwin, he's not trying to trick out jazz with classical trappings. His music is a genuine blend of both genres, with the seriousness of purpose and rigorous internal logic quality classical music demands. Orchestras planning to program "Rhapsody in Blue" for the umpteenth time should give it a rest and try one of Zimmerli's concertos instead.

Recommended Recordings

Patrick Zimmerli: Piano Trios

Twelve Sacred Dances

Book of Hours

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's Fresh Take on Haydn Concertos

Pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet partners with conductor Gábor Tákacs-Nagy to create some truly individualistic performances of three Haydn concertos.

The use of a chamber orchestra (in this case, the Manchester Camerata) is a good one. Haydn's keyboards concertos have much different character than Beethoven's, and are well-suited to the smaller, more intimate sound of a chamber orchestra.

Cadenzas in the classical era were usually improvised. Over time, cadenzas were written out and formalized, and it's the exception rather than the rule that an artist will provide his own cadenza.

Bavouzet is the exception, and his are exceptional. He's not afraid to explore the music beyond the confines of the 18th Century. As he admits in the liner notes, his cadenza for the concerto no. 3 in F major, he pays tribute to Friederich Gulda "which (he says) will raise a few eyebrows.Based on a little motive from the Aria and introducing the theme of the following movement, it contains harmonies that are anachronistic, to say the least!"

Perhaps so, but it made me pay close attention as the familiar became the unfamiliar. And, I think, Bavouzet recaptures some of the listening experience of Haydn's original audience. Back then, no one knew for sure what would happen during the cadenza -- that was up to the skill and inspiration of the pianist.

Delivering that same experience over 300 years later is no mean feat. I applaud the imaginations of Bavouzet and Tákacs-Nagy to make these works sound fresh and exciting and, in a way, brand new.

Franz Joseph Haydn: Piano Concertos No. 3, 4, and 11
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano; Manchester Camerata: Gábor Tákacs-Nagy, conductor

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Harry Partch: Plecta and Percussion Dances

In my opinion, the only thing better than a recording of Harry Partch's music is a new recording of Harry Partch's music.

Partch was an American original; he created a new system of tuning, a new set of music theory to describe its workings, new compositions using that theory, and new instruments to play them on. For a long time, the only recordings of Partch's music available were those made with in in the 1960's. Because his instruments were one-of-a-kind originals, there simply wasn't any way for others to perform his works.Since his death, these unique instruments have become museum pieces, and as such, are seldom played.

Until Partch, a new music ensemble devoted to the composer's work, commissioned reproductions of the instruments. With these new instruments, Instruments that can be taken on tour and played regularly.

One of the results of that happy solution is "Plecta and Percussion Dances," the second volume in Bridge Records' Music of Harry Partch series. This release presents three dance/theater works; Castor & Pollux, Ring Around the Moon, and Even Wild Horses.

Partch's original recording of this triptych was something of a compromise. The performances were riddled with errors, some of the movements had to be dropped for time considerations, and the tenor sax part in "Even Wild Horses" was omitted.

Partch (the ensemble) redresses all that. Castor and Pollux is performed as intended, with all its movements, and there is finally a tenor sax heard in Horses. And there's an added benefit -- this group has studied, practiced, and lived in Harry Partch's musical world for some time, and that internalization comes through in the music. These musicians don't have a tentative grasp on the material (as some of the original performers did), they own it.

And that makes this an album to own. If you love Harry Partch, you'll appreciate the superior sound quality of the recording, the quality of the performances, and the fuller realization of Partch's vision. This is also a great album to introduce Harry Partch to a new listener. It's music that sounds exotic, timeless, and avant-garde all at once. What could be better than that?

Harry Partch: Plecta and Percussion Dances
The Music of Harry Partch, Vol. 2

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Mike Du Jour's cameo du jour

Some newspaper comic strip artists make cameos a regular part of their repertoire -- such as Steven Pastis (Pearls Before Swine) and Mark Tatulli (Lio). Others do so occasionally, which sometimes make them even more effective. (see: cameos)

In an early September, 2014 sequence, Mike Lester did just that in his strip Mike Du Jour. Here's the sequence. (click on images to enlarge)

 There were two things I particularly liked about this story arc. First, the cameo was an unusual choice. Most comic strip cameos are familiar figures from Peanuts, Family Circus or other legacy strips. Earl of Brian Crane's Pickles isn't one of those.

Second, I love the way Lester references Crane's strip.

And of course, the primary focus of Lester's humor is about the T-shirt. The grandfather could be anyone and the jokes would have still worked. But making it a recognizable grandfather just added to the fun. At least for some of us.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Diabelli Project 073 - Duo for Violin and Viola

The Diabelli Project is about offering my weekly flash-composition sketches freely to all. Like Antonio Diabelli's theme these sketches aren't great music. But perhaps (as in Diabelli's case) there's a Beethoven out there who can do great things with them.

This week I wrote another string duo, this time for violin and viola. Although the viola's range is lower than the violin's, it still doesn't go very low, which makes the music fairly lightweight. And I wrote accordingly. Yes, it's a little Bartokian, but hopefully not too much. (click on image to enlarge)

What happens next? That's up to you. As with all the Diabelli Project sketches, I offer this freely to anyone who would like to use all or part of it. Just let me know the results!