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Three Bagatelles

for violin, viola, cello and bassoon

Year:  1971   ·  Duration:  6m

Year:  1971
Duration:  6m

Composer:   Anthony Watson

Films, Audio & Samples

Anthony Watson: Three Bagat...

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Anthony Watson: Three Bagat...

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Anthony Watson: Three Bagat...

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Sample Score

Sample: First page of each movement

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This work was written in 1971 while Watson was the first Mozart fellow at Otago University. It is, in fact, one of his last completed work before his tragically early death in 1973. The three Bagatelles consist of two scherzos framing a slow movement, sub-titled 'ostinato' (repeating bass pattern). Each is quite short but typically complex in style, compressing many motifs and counterpoints into short time frame. They show Watson's interest in serialism which was apparent in his 3rd String Quartet, as well as a Bartokian sound-world in places. The unusual combination of instruments suggests the work was written for specific performers. According to Gordon Skinner, the bagatelles have only been performed once before in 36 years. They are dedicated to artist Michael Smither, who was Hodgkins fellow at the same time as Watson was Mozart Fellow. Following Watson's death, Smither wrote in a tribute: He was pedantic, spiky, intolerant, abusive and at times quite crazy with drink and depression, yet he was one of the most sympathetic, real men I have ever met, and I loved him.

Dedication note

for Michael Smither

Contents note

Three movements:

I. Scherzo 1
II. Ostinato
III. Scherzo 2

Performance history

21 Mar 2007: Mozart Fellows Reunion Concert

25 Sep 2011: Intrepid Music Projects: New Zealand Music

Performed by Gordon Skinner (bassoon), Valerie Rigg (violin), Carol McKenzie (viola) and Chris Salmon (cello)

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