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NAG RAG for Clarinet Quartet
Performance Notes courtesy of the composer:
I was originally inspired to write a Rag in honor of Scott Joplin. After deciding on a Clarinet Quartet as the performance ensemble, it became clear that I would be going in my own direction harmonically, but retaining the humorous mood of Joplin. This is especially true with the large number of syncopated and off-beat rhythms. The Clarinet Quartet can sometimes sound similar to an organ or a calliope, especially when the music features note-to-note counterpoint, as in chordal sections. Such as approach is featured in Nag Rag.
With a performance duration of about 3 and a half minutes, Nag Rag was conceived as a possible encore piece on a woodwind recital but would work equally well on a regular concert program.
Technical demands are moderate, as it is designed to be played by accomplished high school or college students up to and including professional performers. Ranges are primarily in the lower to mid-range with no extreme upper notes required.
Formally, Nag Rag is in a characteristic three form with a short coda. Harmonically, it is more akin to Jazz and Dixieland than a traditional Rag, exploring keys not usually associated with Rag. This is especially evident at the ending, which features a 'wrong' final note, as if to move to a new key.
Nag Rag can either be played with straight eighths or swing eighths. Tempo is left to the performers, but hopefully can be selected within the tempi provided.
Scored for three clarinets and bass clarinet (extended-range instrument NOT required). Score: 8 pages, booklet; parts: 3 pages each, booklet.
About the Composer
Dave Deason was born in South Dakota, but lived primarily in South Carolina and Florida. He grew up playing both clarinet and piano, eventually becoming a professional Jazz pianist and teacher. He received both the BM and MM degrees from Florida State University. After graduation, he held several Professorship positions at universities in South Carolina and New Jersey. In 1992, He received his DMA from The Ohio State University, specializing in Medieval Theory and Composition, followed by an offer to chair the Music Department at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon. He remained in Oregon for 25 years, after which he, his wife Mary, and their 5 Scottish Terriers moved to Kentucky, where they presently reside.
A recipient of numerous composition and teaching awards, Dave has written works in all genres of music, including Classical chamber pieces, concert band scores, piano music, Jazz pieces, and film scores. In 2000, he was commissioned by the Oregon Music Teachers Association as Composer of the Year to write a 2 piano suite called Sugar Beet Suite. In addition to receiving 5 ASCAP awards and 3 Meet-the-Composer grants, he received several grants from individual performers for various pieces. Deason's music has received numerous performances around the US, Israel, and Europe. Ensembles recording his music include the Eastman Saxophone Project, the Verismo Trio, the Indiana University Percussion Ensemble, and the Breaking Winds Bassoon Quartet. His Wind Tunnels for Trombone Quartet was recorded in 2018 by the Szeged Trombone Ensemble. The piece is dedicated to them.
He has two piano recordings, including Oregon Impressions for Piano Solo (2003) recorded by Rhonda Rizzo. As pianist, he recorded From Another Time and Other Original Ballads for Piano and String Orchestra (2010). He is associated with Roads End Films in Newberg, Oregon. He recently scored the action-adventure film From Kilimanjaro with Love, which was nominated for Best Score at the Indie-fest 2008 film festival held in Los Angeles.
Duo Alea began performing music for bass clarinet and piano in 1996. As both performers searching for new repertoire and teachers working with students eager to develop as performers, it quickly became clear that there was a need for more repertoire featuring the bass clarinet. Filling this need became the mission of Alea Publishing & Recording.
Since our first publication in 1997, the Bach Suites, the Alea catalog now includes over 250 titles. As performing musicians ourselves, we pride ourselves on the accuracy and quality of our sheet music, as well as our ability to ship directly to customers around the world.
We are proud of the diversity of our catalog in terms of the inclusion of works by composers and arrangers from around the world. We are interested in continuing to expand this diversity, representing musical ideas from around the world.
In June 2020, we announced the creation of the Dolphy Prize for new works for bass clarinet by Black composers.
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