"Four Thoughts"

For unaccompanied oboe

Matt Fossa's 'Four Thoughts'

In 2004, I'd wanted to write a work that gave some kind of impression of my first experiences in Pensacola, having moved there in 2002. This piece was, therefore, composed in a variety of locations in Pensacola ranging from the ever-popular Pensacola Beach to local restaurants to my apartment patio. I had actually intended to call the piece "Pensacola Miniatures" but, having discovered too many works called "Miniatures" in the world of music, I figured a more original title was in order.

The first movement, "Rambling On..." was actually inspired a piece of chamber music (woodwind quartet) that had time signatures that changed in every bar in a sort of mathematical progression. Not wanting to copy that exact idea, I decided to change meters, but in a repeated pattern of 4 beats, 2 beats, 5 beats, 3 beats. This unusual time signature combination gave me further motivation to try writing something that moved away from my usual diatonic style of writing. Instead, I relied on rhythm and intervals to convey ideas rather than chords made up of specific notes. I called this movement "Rambling On" because, in truth, I didn't really know what else to call a long string of notes like this.

The second movement, "Day to Day" was my own impressions of the work-a-day world in Pensacola. I'm sure it's like this just about anywhere but, of course, I was drawing from my own experiences. The first section's main motive is a major chord interrupted by dissonance. I suppose I was trying to represent a kind of cheerful spirit being forced to face the potential boredom of the working world. The middle section is a demented march in triple meter further underscoring the idea of people behaving in an almost robotic fashion in their daily lives.

Since I live in a beach community, I had to write something about my experiences there! The third movement, "At the Beach" begins with lively skipping out onto the hot sands, only to retreat and seek the comfort of shade and blankets. Wind blows, waves crest, and people watch each other... sometimes with rather specific ideas in mind! (as evidenced by the "whistle" moment before the final section.) The sun sets, birds twitter, and the movement ends.

"Spring Weather", the finale, combines the wind gusts of mid April with the violent but brief thunderstorms that are a regular occurrence in the region. One moment, it's clear and breezy, and the next you have a cloudburst, and then it's clear and breezy again... but another storm is about to unleash itself before the piece ends.


Four Thoughts

©1999-2012 Matthew A. Fossa