Four Bagatelles

  1. Refrains and Choruses
  2. Ballad
  3. Improvisation
  4. Galop


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These four pieces were written for Gordon Higginbottom and the Tenor Horn Society. While they are essentially playful - "Bagatelle - a trifle, a light piece of verse or music" - two of the movements (2 and 3) tip the cap, with due reverence, to Brahms (including some quotation) and Bach. The third movement, in fact, requires the player to join in creating the piece by choosing a significant number of factors: the tempo, the articulation, and the overall characterisation. Above all, these little pieces require a very wide range of response, both musical and technical: in Nr. 1, for example, the mood varies from light and elegant to raucous and jazzy, while in Nr. 4, helter-skelter is the key. Both contain a certain amount of theatrical 'bad-tempered conflict' between the soloist and the pianist.