Discovery: Recital Music for bass clarinet and piano
Sunshine Simmons, clarinet | Benjamin Beck, piano
Ballade for Bass Clarinet and Piano
Heinz Joachim Zander (1920-2010)
With a declarative and ominous opening, this one-movement work written in 1993 for Due Boemi does not lessen in its intensity for the duration of the piece. Expansive intervals contrast with intricate chromatic lines which are constantly vying for the listener’s attention. A German native, Zander was both a performer as well as professor at the Hamburg Conservatory from 1972-2010. He served in the Nazi army during World War II and survived as a Russian prisoner. Ballade was published by Simrock in 1993.
El Cant Del Ocells
Pablo Casals (1876-1973)
El Cant Del Ocells was made famous by the world-renowned cellist Pablo Casals and his version for cello and piano. This Catalonian Christmas lullaby was transcribed for bass clarinet and piano by Casals himself at the request of Josef Horák. Horák began building repertoire for Due Boemi by acquiring transcriptions of pieces that would work well for bass clarinet and piano. El Cant Del Ocells is a beautiful arrangement that includes Horák’s signature desire to play in the highest registers of the instrument.
Campion for bass clarinet and piano
Dorothee Eberhardt (b. 1952)
A trained clarinetist, Eberhardt, composed Campion for Due Boemi in 2000. This two-movement work opens with solo bass clarinet. The unrelenting rhythmic drive is established early, and with a unique blend of flexibility in the pulse and precision of compositional structure, the dialogue between the two instruments is one of constant fluidity. This piece was published by TRIO Musik Edition in 2002 and can also be performed on Bb clarinet.
Scherzi Pastorali for bass clarinet and piano
Originally conceived as a five movement work for clarinet and piano, Jan Novák was inspired upon hearing Josef Horák’s bass clarinet and in 1956 rewrote the piece for bass clarinet and piano. Novák was a popular Czech composer known for his film scores. A whimsical work full of rhythmic playfulness and engaging folk tunes, Scherzi Pastorali was one of Due Boemi’s most often performed pieces and was published in 2018 by Českỳ rozhlas.
I. Allegro moderato
D-S-C-H for Bass Clarinet and Piano
Luboš Sluka (b. 1928)
Published in 1977 by Panton, D-S-C-H is based on the famous motif of Dmitri Shostakovich consisting of the notes D, Eflat, C, and B. This musical signature dominates the entire work in a dark and foreboding manner. Like many Czech musicians during the latter half of the 20th century, Sluka dealt with the political manipulation surrounding new music but nonetheless forged a successful career with multiple distinctions and honors.
Miloš Štědroň (b. 1942)
The propensity to combine genres and styles of music is commonly found among the compositions of Miloš Štědroň. Written in 1980 by this musicologist from Brno, each of Valachica's five movements is derived from Moravian folk music. This work is a fascinating mix of folk, 20th century, Renaissance, and Baroque. Štědroň was not only a consistent collaborator with Due Boemi for over three decades, but also is a renown scholar on Leoš Janáček and has worked for multiple universities in the Czech Republic.
III. Tanec (Dance)
Studii Concertanti for Due Boemi for bass clarinet and piano
Studii Concertanti (Concert Etudes) was written in 1972 by Czech composer Josef Boháč and published in 1977 by Supraphon. Boháč was the director of Panton, a Czech record label and publishing house, as well as the editor-in-chief of the Czechoslovak Television’s music broadcast. The first and second movements are free in structure and expansive in range. The third is simple in construction and limited to the lower register while the final movement culminates in full fury as the piece closes on the lowest note of the bass clarinet.
Recitativo, Toccata e Finale per Due
Afrodita Kathmeridou (b. 1956)
Recitativo, Toccata e Finale per Due was the first composition written when the composer’s family returned permanently to the Czech Republic in 1996 after years of living away from the country's political upheaval. Inspired after a long collaboration and friendship with Due Boemi, the piece premiered in Prague in the spring of 1997. The Recitativo starts with emotional confession which develops into the Toccata, signifying the efforts and struggles of life. The Finale is contemplative with hopeful feelings for the future. Published in 2019, this work is available through Alea Publishing.