Repertoire Search

Richard Blackford

Publisher: Novello & Co

Clarinet Quintet "Full Moon" (2009)
Work Notes
Commissioned by Aberystwyth Arts Centre for Musicfest 2009 and first performed by David Campbell and the Solstice String Quartet
Publisher
Novello & Co Ltd
Category
Works for 2-6 Players
Year Composed
2009
Duration
20 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
clarinet
Orchestration
Availability


Buy this work
Worldwide Sales   North American Sales
 
Full Score   
Set of Parts   

Programme Note
Richard Blackford Clarinet Quintet "Full Moon" (2009)
When David Campbell, to whom the Clarinet Quintet is dedicated, asked me to write the work he suggested my looking for a possible Welsh connection, given that its premiere would take place at the Aberystwyth Musicfest in 2009. I recalled the semi-autobiographical novel Full Moon by Caradog Pritchard, who intended it as a "radio play for voices" like Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood. The novel describes the childhood of a young Boy in Bethesda, the slate-quarrying area of north Wales, during and shortly after World War I. Central to his life is his Mam, with whom he lives and he recalls scenes of intense tenderness and warmth as he and his friends encounter the joys and hardships of rural life. The Boy's imagination is fed by his encounters with the Methodist Chapel and local legends, especially that of the Black Lake nearby. He believes in angels, in Heaven and Hell, Christ's Passion, Resurrection and Ascension, and his dreams evoke mystical and erotic images, described in poetry akin to the Song of Songs. When Mam is declared insane and taken to Denbigh asylum the Boy loses his mind with grief and the novel ends with his murder of a childhood sweetheart on the shores of the Black Lake.

Whereas the quintet is not intended to be programmatic the three movements are inspired by scenes from Caradog Prichard's novel and try to reflect the extreme range of the Boy's emotions. Having decided that the clarinet solo would be the voice of the Boy, the narrator of the drama, I cast the string quartet as his environment, his landscape, the other dramatis personae, his joy and despair. Often the strings interrupt him and propel him forward, leaving him breathless and afraid, or exhilirated and euphoric. Musical themes or motifs go part of the way to unite the three movements, but it is the way in which they are constantly varied, transformed, turned into ostinati, altered rhythmically that gives each movment its energy. The overall effect may appear fragmented, like scenes from an opera with no singers, but that would be in keeping with the intense visions and fanatasies in the boy's head and with the dreamlike landscape of Caradog Pritchard's remarkable book.

Performances
Date
Title
Close X

Newsletter Signup

Enter your email address to keep up to date with the latest news and special offers from Music Sales Classical.
Your data is secure and you can unsubscribe at any time. Read our Privacy Policy




Click here to receive regular news
© Copyright 2018 Music Sales Classical. Part of the Music Sales Group.