Through the Digital Door: Bass clarinet works in CMC's Library

CMC launched its online CMC Salon broadcast on Facebook Live — the first in a new series featuring a selection of works by composers from Ireland. Performed by leading exponents of contemporary music from Ireland Paul Roe and Marella Barz, this event featured insightful contributions about the music from composers and performers, led by CMC Director Evonne Ferguson.

This online event included three works for bass clarinet: Amanda Feery's Star-maker for bass clarinet and electronics, Frank Lyons's Stung for bass clarinet and electronics and Jane O'Leary's a piacere for solo bass clarinet.

These three works represent a fraction of the repertoire for solo bass clarinet housed in CMC's collection. This week's Through the Digital Door explores more repertoire for this instrument.

Daniel McDermott: The End is the Beginning is the End (2008) 6'

This work is dedicated to bass clarinettist Paul Roe, and it is described as a work that is both dramatic and challenging, yet not overwhelmingly virtuosic. This work is published by Alea Publishing.

The object of this piece is to create a monophonic line that "accompanies" itself, resulting in an implied polyphony. There are two voices within the melodic line: a bass line and a higher line. Emphasis between the two lines varies throughout the piece. A certain rubato or freeness can be applied to the rhythm to highlight the duality of the lines.

Ed Bennett: Monster (2005) 10'

This work was commissioned by Paul Roe with funds from the Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and was premiered at Galway Arts Centre. This work is scored for both live and recorded clarinet sounds. Listen to an extract of this work below, performed at CMC's Platform for Performance in 2011 by Paul Roe. The work was performed as part of the launch of Ed Bennett's CD on the NMC label My Broken Machines.

Paul Roe performs Monster, by Ed Bennett

Judith Ring: Whispering the Turmoil Down (2007) 7'

This work was written for clarinettist Paul Roe and is scored for bass clarinet and tape.

The tape part is composed of layered multiphonic recordings of the musician, which provide a rich sonorous accompaniment to the meandering flow of the live part. It reflects a sense of inner calm during external chaos.

Amanda Feery: Rattle (2010) 5'

This work was included on CMC's promotional CD Contemporary Music from Ireland, Volume Ten, performed by Paul Roe.

Before composing this piece, I thought about my earliest clarinet lessons, which involved working on scales, melodious studies, intonation, and removing and repairing erroneous honks, breaks, and squeaks. The errors I was forced to correct in my lessons are the musical qualities of the clarinet I now explore and enjoy. This piece is a recollection of my studies, mistakes included.

Listen to Amanda Feery discuss Rattle below.

Contemporary Music from Ireland, Volume 10: Interview with Amanda Feery

Kevin O'Connell: Motus (2004) 5'

This work is dedicated to clarinettist Sarah Watts, and is performed in this recording by Carol McGonnell as part of Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble at Moving On Music's Tempered Festival in 2016.

This work was also included in New Music Dublin 2020's Portrait Concert of the music of Kevin O'Connell, where Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble (with clarinettist Sarah Watts) celebrated the composer's 60th birthday.


From the archive: an interview with clarinettist Paul Roe

From 2007, clarinettist Paul Roe talks to Bernard Clarke about his experiences of performing new music, composers writing for orchestra and his views on how new music should be presented and performed.

CMC Performer of the Month August 2007