Solo Instrument

Vox Novus Composer’s Voice: 15 Minutes of Fame Series, 4 awards, 2014-15 (short solo works for clarinet, tuba, oboe, organ)
American Prize 2014 for Chamber Music Composition, Finalist
(Torn Curtain)
Contemporary classical works for solo instrument – a collection of modern solo pieces by composer David Avshalomov, including sound files and scores.
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Score
Title
Scoring
Dur.
Year
UNACCOMPANIED
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Archipelago solo piano 1’10” 1982
Order This» Short mood piece, AB(a), playing with a repeated pitch set, leading to a lyrical harmonized middle episode, brusque epigram ending on the first set.
view score Chiaroscuro II solo piano 1′ 1982
Order This» Very short etude/prelude, my only exercise in 12-tone serial technique. A square, march-like expository statement leading to a foreboding mood.
view score Dali Halo solo pipe organ 1′ 2015
Order This» Created for the Vox Novus Composer’s Voice concert series event, Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame: David Bohn. Recording: Premiere by Mr. Bohn November 1, 2015 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A very short impressionist sketch evoking a surreal sky filled with lovely clouds and translucent angels, like a hallucinatory canvas of Salvador Dali.
view score Dr. Death solo bassoon 1′ 2015
Order This» Very short freeform aria/march for solo bassoon (with echoes of Prokofiev’s Grandpapa). A study in projecting or suggesting, with a single instrument, two real parts/voices: the upper melody and the lower accompaniment notes and figures. Projects the stilted formality Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death.”
view score Fuga Semplice solo pipe organ 1′ 1996
Order This» A very short, plain vanilla tonal fugue in middle Baroque style (hommage to Buxtehude). With all the correct elements, modulation to relative minor, short stretto, peroration on the dominant pedal and a little free melodic outburst. Handy when you need a short easy prelude with a full impressive cadence.
Video of Premiere >> view score Ground Zero, 2:00 am solo oboe 1′ 2014
Order This» Created for the Vox Novus Composer’s Voice concert series event, Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame: Robert Botti, oboe and chosen from among over 70 submissions from around the globe. The call requested works on a New York theme. This is my first 9/11 memorial: a simple, slow, poignant melody starting with a quick arcing gesture also used to create the end cadence. Premiered by Mr. Botti of the NY Phil at the International Double Reed Society’s “New Music For Double Reeds” concert, August 6, 2014.
view score Lake Baikal Hoedown solo violin 3’35 1998
Order This» Excerpted from The Last Poet’s Farewell, the next-to-last variation as a lively encore with concert ending.
view score The Last Poet’s Farewell solo violin 22′ 1998
Order This» Written at the request of Rodion Zamourouev, Moscow, in sympathy with the plight of post-Stalinist Russia. Dances and tunes of powerless compassion. Chained suite of small vignettes across the society and the vast landscape, expressed by the last, bitter “poet — the violinist. Modest movement elements, offstage/ onstage. (Vignettes for ind. mvts. in Notes) Notes»
Video of Premiere >> view score MoonSong solo clarinet 1′ 2014
Order This» Created for the Vox Novus Composer’s Voice concert series event, Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame: Â Javier Perez Garrido, clarinet. Chosen from among over 60 submissions. Premiered by Mr. Garrido February 14, 2014 at the Conservatorio Profesional de Musica de Cartagena (Murcia), Spain.
Video of Premiere >> (at 16:56 in the video) view score Petite Valse Romantique solo tuba 1′ 2014
Order This» Created for the Vox Novus Composer’s Voice concert series event, Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame: Kenyon Wilson, Tuba. Chosen from among over 40 submissions. Premiered by Mr. Wilson at the 2014 International Tuba/Euphonium Conference, Bloomington, Indiana, May 13, 2014
See on YouTube view score Sonata for Solo Harp solo harp 14′ 1999
Order This» Written for my friend Maria Casale. A serious solo sonata for a fine artist. Darker than typical harp music. Notes»
I. Legend 8′
Extensive modified developmental sonata form, more contrapuntal than chordal, modal d minor. Much ostinato accompaniment, themes like folk stories, long development, strong recap building tension to a stern, proud ending.
II. Meditation 4′
Pensive, solemn, dignified meditation, in alternating oriental modes. Impressionistic middle episode (glissandi, tremolo), serious return, simple poignant ending. Dedicated to the memory of my paternal grandfather Aaron Avshalomoff.
III. Danza 2′
Quick, dancy bagatelle on changing polymeters over a covert blues harmonic scheme. Quick microvariations on the opening tune, cheery surprise ending.
view score Variations on a Beethoven Theme solo cello 12′ 1989
Order This» Tonal variations on the opening tune from Opus 59 No. 1 F major string quartet, from simple to virtuosic, cheery to moody. Showy ending.
view score Winter Mood solo piano 2′ 1964
Order This» Dreamy sketch, slow and wistful, euphonious, easy to play. Tonal/impressionist harmonies suggesting snow on mountains. Also scored for wind quintet as part of Around the Year.
ACCOMPANIED
view score Elegy (solo vn) solo violin, piano 8′ 1990
Order This» Arrangement of string orchestra Elegy
view score Ground Zero, 2:00 am (oboe, accompanied) oboe, harp (or guitar or piano or marimba) 1′ 2014
Order This» My first 9/11 memorial piece: a simple, slow, poignant melody starting with a quick arcing gesture also used to create the end cadence. Version for oboe with simple added accompaniment for harp (or guitar, or piano, or marimba)
view score Ground Zero, 2:00 am (alto saxophone, accompanied) alto saxophone, harp (or guitar or piano or marimba) 1′ 2014
Order This» My first 9/11 memorial piece: a simple, slow, poignant melody starting with a quick arcing gesture also used to create the end cadence. Version for Eb alto saxophone with simple added accompaniment for harp (or guitar, or piano, or 5-octave marimba)

(cello recording)

view score Meditation (alto sax) 4′ 1997
Order This» Transcription of the slow movement from the Sonata for Violoncello, for Eb Alto Saxophone (uses the cello sonata piano part) alto saxophone, piano

(cello recording)

view score Meditation (viola) 4′ 1997
Order This» Transcription of the slow movement from the Sonata for Violoncello, for viola (uses the cello sonata piano part) viola, piano
view score Sonata Breve for Oboe oboe, piano 15′ 2002
Order This» Lyrical, light/dark, short sonatine, commissioned by my friends Aaron Neustadt and Amelia Russo Neustad, oboist; and dedicated to the memory of Amelia’s father. (See Works/Orchestra page for version with strings and harp, “Concertino for Oboe”, same commissioners.) Notes»
I. Shifting Masks 6’15
Developmental, varied sonata form with strongly contrasting themes and moods, now sunny, now dramatic and gloomy, now lyrical, now rhythmic and restless.
II. Lament 5’40
Elegiac slow movement. Song form with lyrical folk-like melodies. Central sharp, passionate outburst of grief in a short, wild oboe cadenza; gentle varied reprise with short coda.
III. Hushabye 4’40
Simple, playful, childlike rondo in lyrical American folk vein; finally fades away to a safe, reassuring mood, like a lullaby on a child’s music box.
view score Sonata for Flute flute, piano 28′ 2000
Order This» Another serious sonata written for a talented artist-my friend Ellen Burr. Projects both melodic beauty and rhythmic vitality; exploits the wide timbral range of the flute. Chromatic-tonal mid-20th century pre-modern. Darker than most flute solos. The piano is a full partner. Notes»
I. Myth 8’30
Like a mythical story. Mysterious quasi-modernist prologue, series of brooding melodies, wild rhythmic middle, slow denouement.
II. It Ain’t Necessarily Jazz 6’45
Candy-cane jazz waltz in varied-rondo-sonata structure with flute improv passages over harmonic changes, and wry Gershwin quotes. (May add bass and light drumset/brushes to perform separately.)
III. Star Fire 5′
Dedicated to the memory of our first cat Sadie. Slow music to mourn her in the mountains under a midnight sky bursting with stars. Begins in low murky gloom, then a chain of pure melodies in oriental modes, a hysterical high climax, and a full elegiac reprise.
IV. Quarrel 7’15
Dramatic chromatic dialog playing out an increasing nasty domestic quarrel, with yelling and tears at the end. Bitter limp ending.
view score Sonata for Violoncello cello, piano 28′ 1997
Order This» Elegant, formal sonata reflecting Russian and East European art-music influences. Heroic writing for the cello. Written for Howard Colf of the LA Philharmonic. Notes»
I. Andante 9’20
Tight sonata form with varied reprise and strongly contrasting thematic sections, romantic/rhapsodic overall.
II. Lento 4′
Prayerful meditation in simple slow one-theme song form. Melody in cello, over a low bell-like descending piano ostinato with tinkling rising punctuations. Sweet end. Also versions for Viola, Eb Alto Sax.
III. Finale (Ghost Riders) 13’45
Driven, extended, mock-heroic finale with Soviet-modern flavor. Offhand ending.
BUY CD»

view score TORN CURTAIN suite viola, piano 32′ 1991
Order Score/Set» Written for my brother Dan in resonance with Eastern Europe and Russia 1989-90. Suite on original tunes that sound Roumanian, Hungarian, Russian, Czech, songs of empathy and powerless compassion — from a stranger. Heroic writing for the viola, the piano a substantial partner. (Accompanying descriptive vignettes.) RECORDING: Albany CD “Three Generations” (Avshalomov/Pamela Pyle). Finalist, American Prize 2014 for Chamber Music Composition Notes»
I. The Old Tunes 7’40
Dramatic sonata form, fresh new melodies replacing development, varied returns replacing the recapitulation. A lopsided arch: ABCDEFED_BA, crowned by a free, passionate, whirling duo-cadenza. Blunt, stoic ending.
II. Menuetto 3′
Crude old-fashioned minuet/trio (baroque shapes in an Oriental mode, ornamented repeats). High viola harmonics in the trio like tears of trapped children. Fattened return, the cadence pure resignation. RECORDING (premiere of this movement): Patricia McCarty/Cary Lewis
in concert 2015, University of Oregon School of Music, Eugene
III. Ballade 4’10
Clear ABA’ form. The viola offers dry, solemn, phrases in baroque-dance rhythm; the piano gives bittersweet answers. The viola gives a high, sad, old-fashioned romantic love tune, the pianist pounds to the climax, winds down, they repeat the starting dance. Gentle ending.
IV. Incident (in the Town Square) 1’45
Sneaky little scherzo, over before you know it. Fast meters of 5, 7, and 9 establish a busy theme built on repeating cells, interrupted and resumed. Things get violent; the viola emits squeals over crashing clusters in the piano.
V. Night Prayer (in the Web) 9′
Anguished nocturne, tracing pain, worry, prayer, release, resignation, with a glimmer of hope at the end. (ABA form) High bells, a writhing melody over a plodding bass line, the open space of a sanctuary, a quiet priestly intonation, then huge bells and “choir,” releasing intertwined spinning anxieties. Return to high bells and a final lullaby with a bitter-sweet cadence giving rest.
VI. Dance it Away (Rondo-Finale) 5”
Varied rondo of rustic dance tunes, with pseudo-virtuoso touches, like a klezmer or gypsy band, a Jewish-sounding extension, fast reprise of the opening prologue from Movement I, crazed coda on the rondo tune, wild-eyed, splashy end. Life’s a struggle, we’ve got trouble, let’s dance it away.