Quintet for Bass Clarinet and St Qt
Initial sketch: 1995
2nd Edition: revised 2018
1 Intro (allegro, Adagio) 2.29
2 Allegro 7.43
Recorded for ABC Classics in 2003, by:
Margery Smith, bass clarinet;
Elektra String Quartet
(Jun Yi-Ma, Romano Crivici, violin; Rudi Crivici, viola; Sally Maer, cello.)
1 -Intro (allegro, Adagio) 2.29
2 -Allegro 7.43
3 -Adagio, tempo rubato 4.40
4 -Poco Andante 8.48
Mantra is based on a half-remembered Tibetan chant. Though not purporting to express any specific Buddhist ideas or sentiments, it does capture something (well, I think so) of an at times meditative state of mind. It is, however, interspersed with occasional musical irruptions from the psyche of normally consciously controlled and held-back feeling states and energies.
Profound as this all may sound, it is only what I have come up with now, many years later to give some sense of ...something or other about the work. Sort of the usual irrelevent filler material enclosed in program notes, etc.
Historical and anecdotal
This work was originally composed as a reciprocal gesture, and to deepen the collaborative process already in play resulting from the commissioning of High Tension Wires (Nigel Westlake 1st String Quartet, commissioned by myself for the Elektra String Quartet).
It was also an opportunity for Nigel and myself to enjoy and share a musical ‘catch-up’, which had become increasingly hard to do because of our busy schedules; and, well, Nigel was also a hell-of-a mean bass clarinet player and improviser! (hence a section for improvisation in the second movement).
It is in that context that some subtle similarities to his quartet make sense as, at the time, I thought it very funny to include veiled references to his work, (a very ‘in’ joke, in many senses of the term!). Nevertheless, Mantra does reflect something of my own …self, or life-path, where-in distinctions between music, spirituality, hey there, even ‘reality’, are, in some fundamental senses, experienced as being only just that, verbal distinctions.
Well, having said that, Mantra tends to groove, drift, pulse and lilt in ambient states of altered musical consciousness. Enough said, I think. R C, 2018
bass clarinet & string quartet
Nigel Westlake, bass clar; Mirka Rozmus, Romano Crivici, violin; Rudi Crivici, viola; Markus Hartstein, cello
1st mvt - Allegro - Adagio
Available on Stringlines album