Lost Soul (2010)

Lost Soul

For contrabassoon and orchestra
Duration: 12 minutes



This piece is a rather dark view of how, from the depths within ourselves, we strive for better things. The introduction depicts a scene of the entire weight of the world weighing down upon the listener. It is harsh and relentless. The entrance of the contrabassoon is an attempt to break away from that burden. I chose the contrabassoon because its low register depicts the depths within us where our true emotions and perceptions of life lie. The contrabassoon’s entrance attempts to bring energy to the orchestra. However, the orchestra responds to this energy with confusion and a frantic first theme. There are a few moments where the contrabassoon tries to calm the orchestra down. However, the low instruments of the orchestra continue to make heavy stomps along the way, trying to keep the efforts of the contrabassoon repressed.

The second theme manages to reach something ethereal. The mystical nature of this theme is intended to portray the contrabassoon’s efforts to mingle with the highest of instruments, as if we really can reach the heavens and feel its warmth. However, the feeling is short-lived. The strings, through a thematic development, twist the ethereal quality until it is a distorted cry. The development bounces sporadically creating a sense of confusion. The contrabassoon tries to reach something distant but continues to fall into old forms.

The introduction returns, reminding us of the relentless weight of the world, but this time it seems crazed and malicious. The increase in tempo borrows elements from the first theme, adding more fear and relentless cruelty. The first theme then returns, more clouded with instruments chaotically responding to this insanity. The contrabassoon makes a last effort to break away from the bonds of the weighted world as it slows down the orchestra to re-enter the second theme. However, the return to the second theme, distorted by motives from the first theme, no longer shares the ethereal quality it once had. Approaching the cadenza, the contrabassoon refuses to give up, stopping the orchestra before it can lay the last blow to end the piece. During the cadenza, the contrabassoon reaches the highest note of the piece, which it sustains as long as possible before realizing that it can never hold on to that beauty and soaring, heavenly world. It then succumbs to the dark cruel world, falling down to the lowest point of the piece. There is a short lament between the contrabassoon and the woodwind section, which is haunted with tension of things to come. Finally, the orchestra has the last say, pushing the contrabassoon down to its low register and reconfirming the fate we are all doomed to face.