for solo clarinet in Bb

Emma-Ruth Richards

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for solo clarinet in Bb

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Composer Emma-Ruth Richards
Year of Composition 2013
Duration ca.10'
Student Difficulty adv
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-err1i1


In Ikon, for solo clarinet, I adopted the idea of Swiss painter Paul Klee’s concept of ‘taking the line for a walk’. Klee exemplifies how visual artists think beyond an axis where time is horizontal, and space is vertical; one doesn’t read a painting from left to right as the field is not linear but ‘area’ orientated. In writing Ikon I set out to use Klee’s concept in my treatment and development of the melodic line so that the direction wasn’t conceived of linearly but rather area orientated. At times I wanted to create a heightened moment in an otherwise improvisatory line and therefore the melodic line suddenly breaks into a fixed, heavily articulated, rhythmic cell to create a sense of pulse. Fixating on a small, fleeting detail has a dramatic effect on the listener and orientates them within the ‘space’ of the work; up until this point in the piece the boundary between silence and sound has been purposefully blurred with low, barely audible pitches being sustained for an extended amount of time. When writing this piece for clarinettist Alexander Roberts he spoke about there being something almost elemental about a note filling a space and growing out of himself into the silence. I wanted to create phrases that travelled across silences where the player was specifically instructed not to break the phrase by breathing in these rests.