from: Elements (3/11/04)

"Reeds Afire"
by Mary Jeanne Van Appledorn

(Notes provided by Christy Banks)

Mary Jeanne Van Appledorn (1927-) received all of her degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied composition with Hovhaness and Rogers.  She is currently on faculty at Texas Tech University.

Reeds Afire was written in 1994 for Robert and Scott Walzel. Having taught clarinet at Texas Tech for ten years, Robert Walzel is currently chair of the music department at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City.  Scott serves as associate principal bassoonist in the Dallas Symphony.  The work is presented in three short movements.  While calling for extremely loud dynamics, Sparks has snappy articulations, accents, and syncopations.  Smoldering is presented as two long crescendos with a hushed ending; the spacing of the two melodic lines mirror the growth in intensity.  Fast fingers, whole tone scales, and cross rhythms are used in Flames, which ends ffff!  The piece may make you wonder, "Do Bob and Scott like each other?"