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Reviews

Guttersnipe (solo bassoon)

1992/rev. 2000, 2 mvmts., 6 mins.
Publisher of printed music: Magnolia Music Press

Journal of the International Double Reed Society (no. 24, 1996, used by permission)

"This is a major new modern work for solo bassoon. The reader might recall my favorable review of the same composer's duo for oboe and bassoon, Hambidge Quavers, (Double Reed, Vol. 16, No. 1, p. 68). This new work was written for bassoonist William Ludwig and premiered by him at the 1992 IDRS Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. It is in a single movement in [two] sections: Walkabout, [and] Guttersnipe Lied. According to the composer's footnotes, Webster's dictionary defines a Guttersnipe as '...a person of the lowest moral station' - appropriate for a bassoonist! Working closely with bassoonist Ludwig, the composer has fashioned a very appealing, highly difficult (Grade IV) work that makes extensive use of expanded techniques.

Some of these include rapid low register passage work, tongue slapping on the tip of the bocal without the reed, the same with the reed with subtones, overblown harmonics from a fundamental fingering, timbral trills created by trilling keys that change the timbre but not the pitch, quarter-tones, and a full array of multiphonics. There are also changes of embouchure on the reed that are requested and the full range of the bassoon up to the highest [D]. All of the requested multiphonics are clearly printed in the Appendix of this handsome edition. Despite the expanded techniques required this is a solid, powerful, and well crafted piece of modern music, and I strongly recommend it to all you bassoonists looking for a real challenge for your next recital. I'd like to see a work of this quality reach the large group of mature bassoonists looking for good modern music to perform." —Ronald Klimko


Hambidge Quavers (oboe and bassoon)

1989, 1 movement, 9 mins.
Publisher of printed music: Theodore Presser Co.

The Double Reed (vol. 16, no. 1, 1993, used by permission)

"This work was written for Louisiana State University professors Mark Ostoich, oboe, and William Ludwig, bassoon, and was premiered by them at the I.D.R.S. conference in Manchester, England in August, 1989. According to the composer, 'The principal rhythmic unit used in the piece is the eighth-note (quaver).'

It is a very challenging work for both instruments, probably a Grade V, in one movement.

There are three main sections: fast at the beginning and end and a meno mosso in the middle. While it doesn't require any unusual musical technique, the traditional ones call for definitely advanced technical facility. The bassoon part ascends only to high d2, but requires solid technique in both the highest and lowest registers. The ensemble work between the two instruments could also be tricky.

The work is written in a non-tonal, but highly rhythmic and exciting style that would be very pleasing to 'work out' with one's fellow performer. As a skillful work written well for both instruments, it deserves to reach a larger double reed audience." —Ronald Klimko


Congo Square (8 percussionists)

1994/rev. 1999, 1 movement, 8 mins.
Publisher of printed music: Magnolia Music Press

Percussive Notes (February, 1997, used by permission)

Congo Square is an 8-minute "percussion ensemble composition for eight percussionists. It requires an extensive array of percussion instruments [approximately 50] some of which are not standard in many percussion departments, e.g., button gong, slit drums, jaw harp, boobams and Kalimba.

The program notes indicate that Congo Square was an eighteenth-century gathering place for slaves just outside the rampart (wall) of New Orleans.

The composer explains that Congo Square make no attempt to recreate the music that might have been heard, but to show simultaneous performance of contrasting musics and a close interaction between the percussion soloist of each individual group. The ensemble is divided into two groups of four.

Congo Square is a challenging and rewarding composition to perform. Hayden's contrasting percussion quartets create a confusion of sound at times, causing one to wonder if all the players know where they are. But out of confusion comes moments of understanding and rhythmic intensity. The work requires a good Kalimba player and a set of six boobams are a must. The other parts are not extremely difficult, but do require attention to detail and quality sound." —John Beck


Canray (string orchestra)

1999, 2 movements, 13 mins.
Publisher of printed music: Magnolia Music Press

The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA Excerpt from review of full concert, May 4, 1999)

"The premiere of Paul Hayden's 'Canray', a Louisiana Sinfonietta commission, was another happy event. Hayden has incorporated traditional fiddling techniques into the work, which proved delightfully accessible without being trite.

The musicians seemed to relish 'Canray' as well, playing with obvious concentration but without that 'deer-in-the-headlights' look with which much new music is frequently performed." —David Coco


Filé (orchestra)

2003, 1 mvmt., 8-1/2 mins.
Publisher of printed music: Magnolia Music Press

The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA Excerpt from review of full concert, November 15, 2003)

"Thursday’s concert also saw the world premiere of Baton Rouge composer Paul Hayden’s ‘Filé’. Despite the title, there’s nothing regional about Hayden’s dramatic, animated music. Conductor and orchestra threw themselves into Hayden’s intense contemporary score with all the skill and spirit they bring to works by the old masters, maybe even a bit more." —John Wirt


Chaconne (tuba and piano)

1999/rev. 2000, 1 mvmt., 6-1/2 mins.
Publisher of printed music: Magnolia Music Press

The Tuba Journal (Fall, 2000, used by permission)

"The second piece, which can best be described as lyrical and explosive, was Paul Hayden's 'Chaconne'. This was a world premiere as well, and is an exceptional work based on [a polychordal] chord progression." —Kenyon Wilson (reviewing the premiere)

The Tuba Journal (Summer, 2002, used by permission)

"The note g1 occurs several times, as does the note CC. Hayden does a wonderful job of utilizing this extremely low note not just as a novelty, but rather as a recognizable part of the harmonic structure of the composition. 'Chaconne' is clearly a 20th century work in terms of compositional devices, yet Hayden manages to maintain a sense of melodic contour and thus the attention of the listener. The use of octave slurs, repeated notes, and the regular harmonic pattern of the chaconne form all contribute to a sense of musical coherence that provides the player with an opportunity to clearly communicate with the audience." —Dr. Thomas Bough (reviewing the printed score)

The Tuba Journal (Summer, 2002, used by permission)

"Joseph Skillen plays with so much life and energy on 'Chaconne' that it is my favorite selection on the disc." —Dr. Thomas Bough (reviewing the compact disc recording)


Grand Mamou (flute and piano)

1991, 4 mvmts., 15 mins.
Publisher of printed music: Magnolia Music Press

NACWPI Journal (Fall, 2000, used by permission)

"Paul Hayden's 'Grand Mamou' for flute and piano is a very appealing work in four movements: 'Les Veuves de la Coulee' (The Widows of the Creek), 'Grand Mamou,' 'Te Monde' (Little World, Little One), and 'Point Noir Two-Step.'

Based on Louisiana Cajun folk songs, Hayden has taken the folk music as a starting point and developed it with expanded harmonies and form treatments. His sonorous, sometimes surprising harmonies support a variety of characterizations from darkness to piquancy, depending on the context of the song. The writing for flute ranges from calmly lyrical to acrobatic, and is challenging, yet idiomatically well-written and musically satisfying. He utilizes the full range of the instrument, with flutter tonguing, frequent meter changes, and passages of swift, large intervals. Individual movements could also be used successfully for short programs, encores, etc." —Rebecca Dunnell


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