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Bozza, Eugène
with Piano
Composition Year: 
Original / Trascription: 

Publishing House

Southern Music Company
Catalog Number: 

C.I.R.C.B. Library

Cardo, Stefano
Acquisition Year: 


"Ballade" is the first work for the bass clarinet by a French composer which incorporates a degree of the brilliant agility so common in French composition for the soprano clarinet. Cast in a single movement one hundred and forty-three measures length, the pieces is in two large sections. The first section is a rhapsodically expressive development of a majestic and rather martial theme. This section displays expressive flexibility, without having the sombre or melancholy feeling found in the pieces of nearly forty years earlier by Bontoux and Franchi. The second section, allegro, followed by allegro vivo, contains fairly rapid passages work and emphasizes bouncy and clear articulation, which had not been seen in previous French compositions. Its subject, reminiscent of J. S. Bach's Two-part Inventions, treated in a fugato manner with the piano accompaniment, and its continuous motor-rhythm give this portion of the piece a neo-baroque effect. The allegro section is in the key of A-minor, while the rhapsodic first section passes freely through several tonal centers.

Avoiding the altissimo register, "Ballade's" compass extends over two octaves and a tritone from E to b- flat'. In the first section, which is designated "allegro moderato - lento - tempo I," the proportions of range used are:

Extension notes 

French notation is used The dynamic range is from p to ff. Although there is a considerable rapid motion, unusual interval patterns and leaps do not present any great difficulty. The musical language is typical of the richly harmonized French style of the period.

Eugène Bozza, born in Nice in 1905, composed prolifically for wind instruments, in addition to his duties as director of the conservatory at Valenciennes.1 He would seem to have had close association with Albert J. Andraud, the original publisher of "Ballade," who was an oboist and English hornist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and to whom he dedicated a composition, "Divertissement," op. 39, for English horn. "Ballade" was composed in Paris during July, 1939 and published by Andraud in Cincinnati during that year. The work is dedicated to five clarinetists; R. M. Arey, J. E. Elliott, M. Fossenkemper, E. Schmachtenberg, and G. E. Waln. None of these has a distinctly French name and at least two are Americans. Rufus M. Arey served as principal clarinetist with the Philadelphia Orchestra during 1923 and 19242 George E Waln was a professor of clarinet at the Oberlin College Conservatory from 1929 until 1969.3 Whether any of the dedicatees was particularly associated with the bass clarinet is now uncertain. The work's title also states "(Original Version)," implying a need to confirm that the composer had actually intended the piece for bass clarinet and not another instrument: in 1941 Bozza used the same title for a different work for trombone.

© Aber, "A history of the bass clarinet as an orchestra and solo instrument in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and an annotated, chronological list of solo repertoire for the bass clarinet from before 1945": 129-131

1 "Eugène Bozza," The Clarinet 21 (Winter 1955-56): 18

2 Herbert Kupferberg, Those Fabulous Philadelphians - The Life and Times of a Great Orchestra (New York: Charles Sribner's Sons, 1969), 219.

3 John C. Scott, "An Interview with George Waln," The Clarinet 11 (Spring 1984): 12-19