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Flowers of St. Francis

Five Scenes for solo Bass Clarinet

By Daniel Dorff

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Chamber Bass Clarinet
Five Scenes for solo Bass Clarinet. Composed by Daniel Dorff. Sws. Contemporary. Solo part. With Standard notation. Composed 2013. 12 pages. Duration 14 minutes. Theodore Presser Company #114-41600. Published by Theodore Presser Company (PR.114416000).

Item Number: PR.114416000

ISBN 9781598064988. 9x12 inches.

Inspired by a commissioned premiere at the International Clarinet Association's 2013 ClarinetFest in Assisi, and by his penchant for creating musical works depicting nature, composer and bass clarinetist Daniel Dorff has created a suite of five picturesque scenes of St. Francis of Assisi's commune with nature. Each movement is a dialog between St. Francis (represented by pure chantlike melody) and an element of nature (flowers, birds, an angry wolf, fish, starry skies), offering an opportunity to dramatically showcase the wide range of textures and contrasts available from the bass clarinet. For advanced performers. Duration: 14'.
Program Notes by the composer In 2012, bass clarinetist Barbara Haney (recently retired from "The President's Own" US Marine Band) asked if I would accept a commission to write her a solo to premiere at the 2013 ICA ClarinetFest, to be held in Assisi, Italy. This was a fast "yes"! Barbara and I both played in the Haddonfield Symphony and had back-to-back bass clarinet lessons with the Philadelphia Orchestra's Ronald Reuben in the early 1980s, and while I was a composer keeping up with performance, it was clear that Barbara was a stellar bass clarinetist with a big career ahead. Occasional bass clarinet duets together was an inspiration that still helps my playing 30 years later. The opportunity to compose a solo work to be premiered in Assisi, by a virtuoso with amazing sound, as the first piece I'd ever write for the instrument I knew best, quickly suggested a clear idea for a suite about St. Francis, and within a day I'd drafted the following scenario: I. The Flowers, Celebrated by St. Francis Flowers are introduced through an innocent yet florid song, followed by a chant-like passage from the "voice" of St. Francis. The movement then continues as a duet between St. Francis and the flowers. The flowers represent all the fruits of creation as well as simply being flowers in the garden. II. St. Francis Preaching to the Birds St. Francis's chant begins the movement as a flowing cantilena, interrupted by a dramatic eruption of bird calls (taking advantage of the bass clarinet's tremendous range and agility). The movement then continues as a dialog between St. Francis and the birds. III. St. Francis Pacifying the Wolf A ferocious interruption representing an angry wolf who terrorizes the village is perfect for an eager bass clarinetist. St. Francis is heard befriending the wolf, and their duet progresses from heated drama to a peaceful resolve as their themes transform into each other and end gently. IV. St. Francis Preaching to the Fish This sempre pp movement may be imagined as occurring underwater; an opening "glub-glub" motive evokes bubbles rising through water, and the wiggly sixteenths are like gentle fins waving. The dialog is more subtly integrated than in previous movements, and St. Francis's voice alludes to other musical fish. V. The Starry Skies, Celebrated by St. Francis The inspiring majesty of the infinite sky is salted with twinkling stars; St. Francis's voice becomes one with the harmony of the Universe.

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