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Concertino: for clarinet, mandolin, and orchestra.

2012. (original version) [24'] 
ISBN 978-1-939382-08-5  ||  Catalog #: orchest-05a

CONCERTINO was officially commissioned in 2011 by the Geneva Chamber Orchestra. The composition explores the sound combination of two, seemingly opposing, instruments and sound charcters: the clarinet and the mandolin. Thus, the three-movement work is a short double-concerto for clarinet and madolin, accompanied by a chamber orchestra. 

The first movement, titled “Le ciel et la terre, allegro energico” and is a mixture of a coronation fanfare and a wild improvisatory-like dance. The music is based on the strcture and ideas expressed in the 148th Psalm. For the transformation of this Psalmodic text into music I was concerned with two elements: first, the linguistic pulse of the ancient Bilical Hebrew gives the music its everchanging meters and vibrant rhythms. The second element was the poetic concept presented in the text: Heaven vs. Earth, Universe vs. Planet, or Heights vs. Depths. The contrasting nature of these elements is described in the following verses: 

“Hallelujah, Praise ye the LORD from the heavens; praise Him in the heights.”  (Psalm 148, verse 1) 

“Praise the LORD from the earth, ye sea-monsters, and all deeps.”  (Psalm 148, verse 7) 

Finally, both Heaven and Earth join in praise together: 

“Let them praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above 

the earth and heaven.”  (Psalm 148, verse 13) 

The musical expression of these contraries is reflected and the use of high-range and soprano instruments (flutes, clarinet, trumpets, violins) versus low-range instruments (trombone, bassoons, cellos and basses.) 

The second movement, “Une chanson oubliée, moderato” (an old love song) is a slow, lyrical dirge-like melody in a Sephardic Judeo-spanish style. In this movement the mandolin plays in the manner of an Oud – a traditional pear-shaped Arabic lute. The harmony sits mostly on a single pedal note while the clarinet imitates the chant with rhythmically free ornatmental patterns. 

The third and final movement, “Bulgar Genevois, allegro con brio,” is a festive klezmer dance with a traditional Bulgar (or Freylech) rhythm, where the regular 8/8 meter is constantly divided into the irregular count of: 3+3+2. In the middle of this movement the two soloists play a cadenza, which allows them to present their contrasting yet complementary instrumental characters. The movement is titled “The Geneva Bulgar” in honor of the City of Geneva and the wonderful memories I have been carrying with me ever since my time there as a young student at the Conservatoire de Musique. 

Total duration: ca. 24 min. 

Orchestration: 
Solo Clarinet (in B†) 
Solo Mandolin 
Flutes 1, 2 (also Piccolo) 
Oboes 1, 2 
Clarinet (in B†) 
Bass clarinet 
Bassoons 1, 2 
Trumpets 1, 2 
French Horns 1, 2 (in F) 
Trombone 
Percussion (2 players) 
Side drum (no snares) 
Tribal drum (Darbukkah) 
Bass drum 
Tam-TamVibraphone 
Marimbaphone 
Tubular bells 
Crotales 
Splash cymbal (or large susp. cymb.) 
Timpani 
Harp 
Violin I 
Violin II 
Viola 
Cello 
Contrabass