Eugene Bozza’s “Recit, Sicilienne, et Rondo” is written for bassoon with piano accompaniment. The first movement, “Recit,” is true to its name and acts as a recitative for the bassoon; the bassoonist is free to play with time and is accompanied sparsely by piano. The piano sets up the piece with a series of chords, but when the bassoon comes in, the piano moves towards an accompaniment role. Such freeness, as allowed by the scant piano part yields authentic music making and a singing quality to the piece; these characteristics of a piece of music can make any instrument sound beautiful, and the bassoon is no exception. Additionally, Bozza knows how to write for the bassoon well; he showcases the full range of the bassoon, both in notes and dynamics; allows for large leaps that bassoons are characteristically good at; and uses a variety of styles, from smooth and flowing to bouncy. In this movement there is not much of a melody, so Bozza develops the piece in other ways. Large, graceful contours in both scales and arpeggios take the bassoon up and down five times with tonal centers of Ab, Bb, D, C, and an final ascension with no central note. As with many pieces of music, the Golden Ratio is in effect; this movement peaks in the D tonal area about two thirds of the way through and descends in tonal area and highest note pitch from there. In the last slow descension, ornamental turns develop into a chromatic motif that moves sequentially into chromatically altered arpeggios; without the chromaticism, the arpeggios would not have worked, but with it, they propel the movement to its non-tonal ending.
The attaca transition between the movements is similar to the piano introduction; again there is a series of chords, which provides continuity with the beginning, but this time the chords are in a higher range and gentler, so they lead into the quieter and smoother second movement. The second movement, “Sicilienne,” is a Sicilianna style dance section featuring dotted rhythms and lyrical lines typical of the form. As with such pieces in the Baroque period, the movement is in a slow 6/8 time with lilting rhythms making it somewhat resemble a slow jig. The bassoon piano accompaniment each have open, spaced out arpeggios and chords which, along with the quieter dynamics and upper range of the bassoon, gives the movement a light texture. The melody changes starting pitch while remaining in the same key, which sometimes causes interval differences in later repetitions. By keeping the melody similar in later repetitions, Bozza maintains continuity while developing the movement by placing the melody in different pitch areas and adding a few chromatic embellishments near the end. To complete the airy and open feeling, the last two notes are the same but an octave apart, and the piece decrescendos to the highest note on the bassoon.
The third movement is in a standard Rondo format; the main theme is repeated several times with short deviations, or episodes, away from the theme; for this particular Rondo, the form is ABACAC with a short closing at the end. Originally in the tonic key of A major, the theme tonicizes different keys and often has varying articulation. At the end of each repetition or variation of the melody, some development of the melody is added, reinforcing the theme while adding variation at the same time. This movement has the strongest development because it has a true form and the theme is developed in a variety of manners within that form.