About this work:
Like the court jester of old, who, as tradition has it, could tell the king what no one else would dare to simply by using wit and humor, the composer who calls pieces "bagatelles" is implying that they are little more than "trifles" when in fact he is merely
allowing himself to do things in them that he would not ordinarily do in another type of composition. In my Five Bagatelles, for example, there is often doubt about what is intended to be taken "seriously" and what is not. Curious juxtapositions may occasionally upset listeners' customary responses, and sugar may now and again be mixed with a little
vinegar or salt.
Five Bagatelles grew out of a need sometimes experienced by ensembles devoted to the performance of new music in small colleges where players of some instruments may not always be available and where therefore a director might like to be able to substitute one instrument for another, hence the designation in the title, "for woodwind and/or string
instruments." The technical demands made on the players are also comparatively restrained, and what difficulties remain do not persist in any piece for more than a few measures at a time. The pieces do, however, make demands on the players' musicianship that may exceed those made on their techniques.
Score and parts available from Mira Music Associates. Contact: email@example.com
Recorded on North/South Consonance Recordings N/S R 1005
Review: "In Five Bagatelles, Allen Brings drops the horn in favor of the piano. In post-Hindemith vein, the writing is light, fanciful, and tuneful."
IAWN Journal, June, 1996
Version: 4 woodwinds and/or strings & piano
Year composed: 1993
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Piano Quartet or Quintet
Instrumentation: 1 Flute, 1 Oboe, 1 Clarinet, 1 Bassoon, 2 Violin, 1 Viola, 1 Cello
Instrumentation notes: Instrumental parts may subsitute for one another if players are unavailable, for ex., cello for bassoon, flute for first violin.