for clarinet solo

Richard Bullen

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for clarinet solo

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Composer Richard Bullen
Year of Composition 2015
Duration 6'30"
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-rb2h1


The Hikinuki (‘pulling out’) is a Kabuki technique which involves fast changes of costume on stage. The actor wears two layers of clothing, the top layer of which is suddenly removed by the kuroko, the black-clad stage assistants. The new costume, often of striking colour, can represent a change of character, and revealing the protagonist’s inner thoughts. The result, when timed with precision, is a spectacular coup de théâtre, thrilling the audience – regularly greeted with applause – and marks out key structural moments in the play.

There are no actual costume changes in this piece, nor any stage assistants! What there is, however, are several swift changes of musical character, which likewise delineate the piece’s structure. Embryonic ideas presented in Hanamichi are also developed, with the intention of creating surprise by sudden transformations of the material.

Hikinuki was commissioned by Anna Hashimoto with funds from the St John’s Smith Square Young Artists’ Commission Fund. Anna performed extracts live on BBC Radio 3 In Tune ahead of the premiere performance, which took place on 11 June 2015 at St John’s Smith Square.