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Sonata "Muskoka" for Clarinet & Piano

Instrumentation: clarinet, piano
Duration: 13:00
Year Composed: 2010
Commissioner: Trevor Pittman (Windsor, Ontario, Canada)
  1. LAKE: open water, brilliant sun, shimmering surface
  2. MARSH: winding waterways, tall reeds, punctuated tranquillity

The two movements may be performed in either order.
The first movement (6:00) may be performed separately.


Recording

Global tapestry - Ananta duo Lake movement featured on the Ananta Duo's CD Global Tapestry (2018).
 
Order CD. Stream via Spotify.

Audio Samples

Lake (middle)

Marsh (middle)


Program Notes

While living in Toronto my wife and I would escape the city every summer by spending a week in cottage country. One year we rented a cabin in the Muskoka region that had the distinction of sitting on a rock face overlooking a wide lake while at the same time bordering a narrow tributary that led to a vast marsh. We spent the bulk of our time canoeing on the open lake and along a winding channel that cut through the marsh—the two scenes I depict in this sonata.

The first of these, "LAKE: open water, brilliant sun, shimmering surface", and marked "Nervous, exuberant", reflects the joy of being out on the open water. The music's flowing ostinatos, syncopations and cross-rhythms reflect the rhythm of the waves and of the canoe, and the dance of the sun's light on the water.

The second scene, "MARSH: winding waterways, tall reeds, punctuated tranquillity", offers a contrasting experience. Here tension-laden stasis unexpectedly gives way to brief moments of activity. On one occasion, while gliding in our canoe among the tall grasses, we paused at a beaver dam and waited patiently for one of its inhabitants to emerge from within. Instead, the stillness was interrupted by a loud splash some ways behind us—a beaver slapping its tail to signal danger. Not all the wildlife was as elusive: we saw a black bear rambling along the shoreline at dusk; and a great blue heron taking flight as soon as it noticed that we had noticed it.

In the score I have indicated that the movements can be played in either order and have designed the music accordingly: it seems immaterial whether one experiences the lake or the marsh first. The first movement may also be performed separately.

Trevor Pittman, a clarinetist who I had the good fortune of meeting during my year teaching at the University of Windsor, Ontario, commissioned the sonata; I have dedicated the work to him.

—R.R.


Performances

  • Ananta Duo (Cecilia Kang & Ana María Otamendi), tour 2018
    ::Feb 19—LSU School of Music (Baton Rouge, LA)
    ::Feb 27—University of South Carolina School of Music (Columbia, SC)
    ::Feb 28—Furman University Department of Music (Greenville, SC)
  • Jun 3, 2015—Sean Rice (cl) & Lucas Bell
    "Lake". Tabaret Hall, University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ON)
  • Jun 14, 2014—Päivi Kiljala (cl) & Sonja Fräki
    Kallio-Kuninkala Chamber Music Festival (Järvenpää, Finland)
  • Nov 13, 2011—Trevor Pittman (cl) & Gregory Butler
    Assumption Chapel, University of Windsor (Windsor, ON)

Reviews


Score Perusal & Parts Rental

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