Basquing, by Aaryn S. Ricucci-Hill
For Violin and Piano, Advanced, 16 Pages
In 2022 I was commissioned to write a piece which would accompany a proposal submitted to the College Music Society conference in Boise, ID. Part of the proposal suggested music that celebrated the rich musical heritage of the Northwest. In looking around at what that meant, I discovered a curious fact about Boise: it has the only Basque heritage museum in the country. Suddenly the wheels got to turning!
Basquing (2022) seeks to invoke... bask, if one will, in the sounds and feelings of another time and place. The inspiration of the piece comes from the Basque region of France with quotations from folksong, fiddle music, and a general vibe of French impressionism.
The piece opens with the folksong Atzo Goizean, the lyrics to which invoke the folksy elements of village living (talking about waking to the thrush’s song, fathers arranging marriages, etc.). The urge to ‘word paint’ the folk song with it references to thrushes and partridges, is tempting, but the urge was avoided in this case, instead opting for a general “vibe”, or feeling. The next section avoids quotation altogether, instead opting to steep into the mystique environment created before. The last major portion of the piece utilizes what was billed (to me at least) as a Basque fiddle tune (the title lost as it seems the scholarly research on the subject and tunes that comprise the genre are lacking even by those who claim to have some knowledge of it). Assuming the best, however, the fiddle tune quoted in Basquing is meant to be a musical representation of familial resemblance to the fiddle music of the Pacific Northwest and how folk music of all varieties is at one time so specific yet at the same time broad in its understanding across cultures.
Commissioned in 2022 by Arthur Houle (pianist) and Joung Hoon Song (violinist) for the Pacific Northwest College Music Society Conference 2023 in Boise, ID and premiered at said conference on March 17th, 2023.