Program notes

Ablauf (1983/88) for clarinet and two bass drums is a fast-flowing and breath-taking frolic that is enhanced by the instrument's polyphonic potential but that nevertheless retains its burgeoning love of freedom. The rough treatment which the clarinet receives shows that Magnus Lindberg has once again given in to the wild, untamed side of his character. - Jouni Kaipainen

OI KUU (1990), freely translated "for a moon", marks a small break between two large orchestral works, DU CRISTAL and ..À LA FUMÉE. It consists of elements which came to my mind when searching for a common denominator for bass clarinet and cello; harmony based on multiphonies of the clarinet; the multiphonies and colour transformations of the cello; similar and different articulations; different colours in the same register. 

OI KUU was written at the request of Kari Kriikku and Anssi Karkttunen and is dedicated to them. - Kaija Saariaho

Tephillah (1990) for Clarinet and Computer Controlled Audio Processors was commissioned by the musical instrument division of Yamaha Corporation of America at the request of Chicago Symphony Clarinetist John Bruce Yeh. Loosely based upon Hebrew liturgical chant, Tephillah owes its inspiration to the style abstraction of the seemingly disordered and spontaneous manner in which a service is conducted by Orthodox Jewish men of the Ashkenazic tradition. The word, tephillah, is Hebrew for prayer.

The work consists of three movements which are performed without pause. Movement I is a declaration of the material. Movement II is styled like a cadenza. Movement III is also declarative in character using more robust versions of the opening sound objects. The construction and material of Tephillah is consistent with my aesthetic goal of using static sound objects that, rather than develop, are varied by their continually changing association with other sound objects. The audio processing systems consists of digital delay, reverberation and mixing systems under the control of a Macintosh computer. These systems are manipulated in real time by a second performer who essentially "plays" the sound of the live clarinet. The combination of clarinet and audio processors exists as a single instrument rather than the more traditional approach of duet between the acoustic and electronic instruments.

This work is dedicated to the memory of my maternal grandfather, Henry Faber, who though avowed atheism, knew God.
- Howard Sandroff

About the program

I took the title of this program from a letter Max Reger wrote while he was working on his Sonata, op. 107, which he called "a new crime against harmony and counterpoint." His description of the work resonated with me, not only for his piece (which is relatively tame, a century later) but for the rest of my program.

Each of the works I am playing tonight has an "unnatural" element. Both Saariaho and Lindberg distort the sounds of the instruments and expand beyond the traditional Western palette of 12 semitones. Sandroff incorporates "unreal" reverb and manipulates the clarinet's sounds electronically. Reger's Sonata blends Brahms's texture and aesthetic with a Wagnerian tonality--this might be the biggest offense of the whole program to late 19th- and early 20th-century music critics.

So in the spirit of a recital based on sonic "crimes," I hope my program tonight offends, titillates and intrigues--but most of all I hope it interests.