Commissioned by the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble for their annual New Years Day television broadcast, Handel with Care
First performance: Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands, January 1, 1996 - Evan Ziporyn, solo bass clarinet; Nederlands Blazers Ensemble
This is an expanded version of my short solo work of the same title, itself a version of a hymn from the liturgy of the Georgian Orthodox Church, as recorded by the Rustavi Choir for the Nonesuch label. The solo version - intimate and introspective, concerned with timbre, voice, pure emotion - is played almost in its entirely, the bass clarinet only joined by the larger ensemble near the end, where it detours, modulates, and explodes. As in the solo version, 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.