HOLD YOUR BREATH: NEW WORKS FOR CONTRABASS CLARINET

“But if you take away my voice,” said the little mermaid, “what is left for me?”
- Hans Christian Andersen

This program of new and newly commissioned works for contrabass clarinet re-imagines the instrument as a catalyst for the voice, breath, and body. Working with composers who are committed to navigating new sonic terrains, these pieces engage in broader conversations beyond purely musical or technical conversations. Following a recent set of writings around the voice (Brandon LaBelle’s Lexicon of the Mouth & Cristof Migone’s Sonic Somatic, to name a few), I am interested in how wind instruments mediate the voice in ways that other non-wind instruments cannot and to what effect it produces. Are these works an attempt towards language? Do they offer themselves towards linguistic patterns though set as musical materials? And can works that utilize the voice through the instrument tell us more about the body and its limits/possibilities than strictly vocal works can? In addition to contributing to the creation of new works for contrabass clarinet, these works also speak to new questions of embodied techniques, the possibilities of the voice with regards to instrumental playing, and to new ideas of presence, performance, and affect.

Alejandro T. Acierto (1985): Imprint (2014/15) for contrabass clarinet
Malin Bång (1974): Split Rudder (2011/15) for contrabass clarinet and electronics
Evan Johnson (1980): ground (2010) for contrabass clarinet
Aaron Einbond (1978): Resistance (2012/15) for contrabass clarinet and electronics
Morgan Krauss (1985): i followed the lines of god (2015) for contrabass clarinet

 

program notes may be viewed here