First performance: Killian Hall, Cambridge, MA, 1994 - Evan Ziporyn, solo bass clarinet
Recording: Bang on a Can Classics (Cantaloupe), 2002 - Evan Ziporyn, solo bass clarinet
Also available on Bang on a Can: Cheating Lying Stealing (Sony Classical), 1996 - Evan Ziporyn, solo bass clarinet
Tsmindao Ghmerto is based on a hymn of the same name from the liturgy of the Georgian Orthodox Church, as recorded by the Rustavi Choir for the Nonesuch label. The resemblance is so strong that I originally billed it as an arrangement, until several people took issue with this, in public and private. The bass clarinetist is required to hum into the instrument almost continuously throughout the piece. The ‘vocal’ line is indicated on a separate staff but is to be done by the same player, much like the left hand in a piano part. It is transposed to B-flat so that the player can more easily conceptualize the intervallic relationships between the two parts There are undoubtedly various ways to produce tones while humming, but in all cases the effect should be as graceful as possible, that is, it shouldn’t seem like a struggle. Other sound artifacts that may emerge while singing and playing are desirable.