Composition - - American Recorder Society
Bergamasca a quatro
By Anthony St. Pierre October 2023
The 16th-century Bergamasca dance tune owes its present-day renown to Respighi’s 'Ancient Aires & Dances, Suite 2.' But several much earlier composers have set it as well. Here, following its initial presentation, there are twenty iterations of the tune in contrasting harmonic idioms. The retrograde appears twice (Vars. 2 & 8). Precise synchronicity is the main challenge. But individual parts are technically quite accessible. The overall challenge then lies somewhere between easy and moderate. The composer performs on the accompanying multitrack recording. Duration: 4:40
-- Anthony St. Pierre
Fun, accessible and relatively easy, this is a set of variations for SATB, on a tiny 4-measure phrase with a frequently absent bass line. As the composer states, the bergamasca is a popular ground bass and chord pattern dating at least to the 16th century, made famous not only by Respighi in the 20th century but also by earlier composers such as Marco Uccelini in the 17th century. Most of these new variations fall easily under the fingers while surprise harmonic twists lurk. Variation 5 has rapid 16th-note patterns in two of the parts, to keep your articulation and finger coordination in good form. Others are in 5/8 and 6/8. This is an enjoyable set of variations that’s not overly technically demanding but may require a closer look in some spots where accidentals appear in clusters.
-- Glen Shannon
No. of Recorder Parts:
New Music for Recorder
Date Added:
Social/Casual, Concert, Fast/Up-tempo, Tonal/Melodic, Folk/Traditional, Variations/Fantasies/Adaptations