Instrumentation: clarinet and marimba
Duration: 8 minutes
When starting this commissioned work for Shengwen in 2016, I was told that it should be “funky” and “groovy”. Knowing that the commissioner liked Bebop and Jazz gave me an idea of how the work was going to sound, and I started listening to Charlie Parker and other Bebop legends to gain an understanding of how Bebop worked.
While the language of the piece can be jazzy, the form of the composition is based on the classical theme and variations model. The theme, which begins with the marimba and clarinet in unison, is of my own and has an improvisational quality. The rest of the piece is comprised of ten variations that find their origins in the basic melodic material, which is the starting three notes of the work G#, A and Eb. The variations are organized around a basic ABA form, with the A section consisting of faster variations, the B with slower and lyrical variations, and then ending with another series of fast variations. The piece ends with a coda (starting at rehearsal K) which brings it to a dramatic and virtuosic conclusion.