Last month, the Classics a Day team came up with a theme to reflect the reality of social distancing. The challenge was to share solo works for unusual instruments — the kind of instruments best played in social isolation.
For June, the team is again going with the times. Social bubbles are small groups of people (usually family members) who live together and therefore don’t need to maintain distance from each other. So the challenge is to share examples of classical bubbles. That is, duos for unusual instruments best not shared in public.
Below are my selections for the first week of #ClassicalBubble
06/01/20 Stephen W. Beatty (1938 – ) Duet for Viola and Heckelphone
One instrument’s the butt of jokes; the other has a funny name. And yet musically, they both have a beautiful sound, as Beatty demonstrates.
06/02/20 Harry Partch (1901-1974) The Wind for Harmonic Canon II and Bass Marimba
Partch built his own instruments to play his own music based on his own musical scales. The Harmonic Canon has 44 strings and is tuned differently for each piece.
06/03/20 Ricardo Matosinhos (1982 – ) Song without Words, Op. 80a for Tenor Wagner Tuba and Piano
The Wagner tubas were originally built for the composer’s Ring Cycle. He was inspired to design the instruments after visiting Adolphe Sax.
06/04/20 Giorgio Mainerio (c.1530-1582) Caro Ortolano for two racketts
The rackett (AKA the sausage bassoon) was a Renaissance double reed. It first appeared around 1575 and was almost completely replaced by the bassoon by 1700.
06/05/20 Leopoldo Francia (1875-1918) Adagio for mandolin duet
Francia was one of the most famous mandolinists of his day. He played and composed in a traditional Italian style.