Pharmacopoeia: One (solo bassoon with bassoon quartet)

Commissioned by Jolene Masone (for solo bassoon with bassoon quartet)

Score and parts will be made available for sale after the premiere.  Recording will be posted as soon as I have it.


About This Piece

In this piece (the first of an open-ended series of pieces), I explore four pharmaceutical agents, imagining how their effects on one’s body might be translated into sounds.

The work opens with a prelude, which exhibits the primary melodic materials the rest of the piece is built upon.

Ciprofloxacin is one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics. I envision a “battle” between the drug and the offending bacterium, much as it occurs in the course of treating respiratory tract infections and urinary infections.

In Albuterol, I begin the movement with rather “breathless” figures that gradually calm and end in wide open respite. Albuterol is best known for treating exacerbations of asthma, which relaxes bronchi that have become inflamed.

When blood pressure becomes too high, this can cause a number of life-threatening conditions. One drug commonly used to bring blood pressure under control is Metoprolol, which acts on a number of bodily systems to “slow things down.” In this movement, I depict this gradual releasing of tension both in rhythmic figuration and in tempo.

The final movement presents Modafinil, part of a relatively new class of drugs known as eugeroics. Essentially a stimulant, modafinil promotes wakefulness and is claimed by some to increase energy level and mental clarity. In this closing movement, I depict one of the less pleasant side effects of this stimulation: the jitters.

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