Out of the Depths, from the Sonata in Little G for ABC
By Glen Shannon 2017
S A T B cB
The Sonata in Little g was commissioned by the Adirondack Baroque Consort in 2017 and published by Loux Music Publishing, to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the ensemble; it is a Baroque-inspired piece, though not entirely free of 21st century influence in both rhythm and harmony. “Little g” refers to its key, that of G minor. This sonata is like an expanded trio sonata in that it is for SATB recorders plus basso continuo, which is included in these playalong recordings. The bass recorder is an equal part of the upper team, not part of the continuo. There is a contrabass recorder part added to this arrangement and provided in the score, parts, and recordings.
The opening movement, Out of the Depths, is a pompous introduction of the sonata to the audience. The dotted figures give it a French flavor that I find very enjoyable. Written slurs are visual phrasing cues, particularly those over a dotted-note-shorter-note combination. In those instances the slur is a reminder to play the full value of the dotted note and pair it with the following shorter note (rather than breathing between them and joining the short note with the following note). An undulating sensation is created when the slurs are observed in all the parts. ABC approaches this short movement with gravity and drama, cloaking my French flippancy with a black German overcoat. Both extremes are possible.