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Three Pieces for Clarinet and Percussion

clarinet and percussion duet

Composer: Eckhard Kopetzki
Publisher: Innovative Percussion
Instrumentation: Bb Clarinet, marimba low A, tam-tam, bass drum, 2 tin cans, 2 toms

Program Notes:
The 1st and 2nd movements of Three Pieces for Clarinet and Percussion are more a conflict of the two players; the 3rd movement brings it to a "happy end".  The main compositional element of the 1st movement is the motif of echoes used in different ways.  The Marimba repeats chords, interrupted by irregular rests; also once with an inaudible “echo” dampening of the chords.  These rhythmical phrases are repeated by the clarinet with a great spectrum of dynamics.  This dialog of echoes is interrupted by a dance-like part, in which the Clarinet and the Marimba play together; a short echo finishes this movement.  In the 2nd movement the percussion player uses a small set-up, played with wire brushes. The intention of this movement is more like a clarinet cadence, interrupted by some rhythmical break-outs of the percussion player, ending mostly with a fade.  After the "conflict" of the 1st and 2nd movements, the Clarinet and Marimba combine in the 3rd movement to a "love song", repeating some ideas of the 1st and 2nd movement, but now ending in harmony.

"Eckhard Kopetzki is widely recognized for such award-winning works as “Canned Heat” and “Three Movements for a Solo Dancer.” Yet, Kopetzki’s catalog also includes chamber pieces that fill holes in the repertoire. When searching for literature scored for percussion and woodwind duet, percussionists are more apt to find selections with flute or saxophone. This challenging composition provides percussionists an opportunity to collaborate in a duo setting with a clarinetist.

This three-movement work contains compositional techniques that are classic Kopetzki. The first movement, “echoes… still again,” begins with a slow tempo. Using rhythmically complex motives, imitative ideas between the instrumentalists create an echo effect. “Rhythms…fall silent” has a quasi-cadenza quality and features the clarinet. Multiple percussion material supports the clarinet with soft, intricate ideas. Loud, disruptive outbursts occur between clarinet statements. A Kopetzki composition is not complete without a dance-like groove. The final movement, “Time…in love,” unifies the performers with a syncopated marimba accompaniment that lays the foundation for the clarinet melody.

I have performed a number of Kopetzki’s pieces throughout the years. The diverse character between structural sections and accessible grooves make his compositions easy to listen to and fun to perform. Although the conflict between the clarinet and percussion is a bit drawn out in the first two movements, performers and listeners alike will be satisfied with the overall composition." - Darin Olson  Percussive Notes, July 2014

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