Ann Cleare on her work Eyam ii
Ann Cleare talks about her work Eyam ii, which will be performed in New York and Washington this month by the Argento Ensemble.
Eyam is a small village in Derbyshire, England. It is best known for being the "plague village" that chose to isolate itself when the plague was discovered there in August 1665, rather than let the infection spread. eyam i (it takes an ocean not to) and eyam ii (taking apart your universe) are the first and second pieces in a series of five attacca pieces for clarinets and flutes, all of which deal with ideas of isolation and infiltration.
The role of the contrabass clarinet has its origins in eyam i (it takes an ocean not to) for solo Bb clarinet, which follows attacca into eyam ii. In eyam i, the core language of the solo clarinet is infiltrated by what are thought of as four “unknown elements”: four different languages that the clarinet must learn to integrate and speak. In order to show the clarinet what it could not see in eyam i, these elements are sonically transplanted on to five different chamber groupings in eyam ii, each acting to reveal the bigger universe that the solo Bb clarinet only represented the surface of.
Ann Cleare, October 2016