This collection of pieces was written for the Trinity Guildhall Examination Board syllabus. It is aimed principally at students of grades 1 to 5 and intended to combine technical challenges with that most vital musical ingredient: fun.
Four pieces for bassoon and piano by Graham Sheen.
Drunken Sailor - the sequel
This needs a plaintive tone especially in the upper register where the dynamics are particularly important. To capture the mood of the piece those slurs in bars 35 and 36, for example, might even be close to a glissando. Use your imagination to recreate the sailor's state of health!
The Vulgar Boatman
Not only more "hidden" melodies but more appalling puns! (Volga Boatman for those not versed in Russian folksongs). This is like a waltz: it is written in 3/4 time but played so as to give the impression of one beat in bar. The melodies need to be well sustained so that we hear four, eight or even more bars as a single phrase. Clues for the musical detective:- in addition to the Volga Boatman, you might spot just a hint of "Sailing down the River on a Sunday Afternoon", "We Sail the Ocean Blue" (H.M.S. Pinafore), The Eton Boat Song and even Wagner's Flying Dutchman.
Last Tango in Harris
Everyone must surely know these thinly disguised Scottish tunes, but can you make them sound like a tango? Bear in mind that tangos are not jazz: the rhythm is quite strict, but the tango character is in the tone and the phrasing. Notice how expressive the occasional shorter note value can be, as in bars 4 and 5 in the bassoon part.
Or was that Rumanian Sketches? This is a chance to play the main melody in two registers of the bassoon. Try to make a good even sound in both octaves. This piece requires careful counting since the phrases in the bassoon part don't always begin where you might expect. Think of this piece as a song.