Composed: 2008 Duration: 3 mins.
Instrumentation: Clarinet & Piano Level C
Exam Grade: HSC Clarinet,
ISMN: 979-0-720083-96-4 Catalogue: RM591
Level: C Country: Australia
Performed by Barry Cockcroft
Blue Tongue is a solo piece in a blues style with a theatrical element to be performed with a sense of humour. After a brief rubato introduction, the rhythm and pulse must remain relentless with a gradual increase in the dynamics and intensity of the piece. From figure D the clarinetist should gradually disassemble their instrument while playing. As the instrument gets shorter, the music should maintain its flow right up to the final note played on just the mouthpiece. The actual pitch in the final section will depend upon the particular instrument of each player, so don’t be too concerned with precision of pitch, the gesture is more important. The written notes indicate the fingering to be used rather than the exact pitch. Ample amounts of cork grease may be required to ensure that the clarinet comes apart smoothly and quickly.
Breathing and phrasing will depend upon each individual clarinetist. Bracketed notes may be omitted to allow for quick breaths if required. Grace notes can be lazy, tremolos should be played fast, articulation crisp rather than legato and slides should be played smoothly like a portamento. If the slides are impractical, the alternate written notes may be played.
The piece should be played with a sense of humour and creative ways of taking apart the clarinet could be employed. For example, gradually putting the pieces of the clarinet into the case and then walking off stage at the end...
“Sacred Country” , Tharawal Country, the South Coast of New South Wales, sacred to the Aboriginal people of the Tharawal nation, to poet Roland Robinson, and to composer Dindy Vaughan, who was born and raised there.
An area covered with sacred rock carvings, bushland, creeks and streams; a land singing its essence, shouting its freedom, vibrating with energy. Country encircling, embracing, containing; soothing with tenderness. Echoing, reverberating, radiating mystery; mind captive, soul stilled. Creation shines in the Eternal Present.
I wrote this for Perdita, during her lessons, 12 bars per week, to give her an idea on how the blues works. She played the tenor but it sounds fine on all saxes. My bari (Horace) likes playing it, but not too slowly as it can drag. The articulations add to the rhythmic interest and putting a little accent on tongued notes adds to this effect. Otherwise you should lean on the the beat to keep the Boogie Woogie idea going. The piano part is mostly a bass part and gives you strong fundamental pitch to tune to and make the thirds hum.
This piece, a flight of fancy for clarinet and piano, comprises three sections, each lasting about a minute or so. The first section kicks off in an energetic and cheerful way with the bright, upper registers of both instruments at play. Also evident in the opening section are ideas such as angular melodic lines played in unison, a little harp-like piano accompaniment texture and a contrasting theme fashioned atop a jazzy, dance-inspired bassline. The middle section of the work is perhaps the more unearthly music of the work. Little updrafts and whirlwinds of tinkling, glockenspiel-like piano figurations add a haunting quality to a chromatically inflected clarinet melody, evoking, for me, images of night and a kind of magic. The final section of the piece – which brings us back to earth with its recapitulation of earlier material – is characterised by the sound of its ‘slow-to-start’, hand-cranked engine.
I originally wrote this for Lisa to play as a solo flute piece, then gave it to some Tenor Sax students before adding the piano part, which I now really like the sound of and it does add considerably to the piece. It is named Mediterranean Blue because it seems to have Southern European influences but a touch of the Blues too. Therefore you can approach playing it, leaning in either direction, either a little jazzy or quite Classical, (vaguely Spanish). The rhythmic feel is challenging to pin down, being almost felt in one beat to the bar, but only once you reach a certain tempo. Finding places to breathe can also be a little challenging. Sorry. You may find yourself humming this one in your sleep as I have.