Publisher: Chester Music
Duo Concertante (1992),
commissioned by Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)
Chester Music Ltd
Soloist(s) and Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
In 1990 my friends Kari Kriikku and Anssi Karttunen asked a dozen of Finnish composers to write a piece for clarinet and violoncello.
Anssi had played me a fantastic recording of an arrangement of Pulcinella by Strawinsky for violin and cello. These instruments were capable of reproducing a quite astonishing version of the ballet despite of the rather limited resources. The imagined presence of the orchestra interpreted by two musicians created, like the top of an iceberg, a strange and wonderful tension.
I decided to make the basic concept of the piece based on a harmonic layout, a rather paradoxical starting point for writing a duo for clarinet and cello. I composed huge chordal successions out of which the music followed meanderlike paths alternating between many layers constantly. I imagine the feeling for the musician to be much like playing multiple chess turns simultaneously.
Duo Concertante is a continuation of the same processes, except that more of the iceberg is now visible. The most important path is outlined by the soloists, whereas the ensemble articulates deeper levels in the musical material. The instrumentation of the piece can be viewed as an extension of the duo idea; flute-oboe, mandolin-guitar, vibraphone-harp, viola-double bass in addition to the soloists.
Style is an aspect of musical writing I have been focusing a lot of intention to during the last years. Duo Concertante includes odd scherzo characters, puristic serial music, spectral music affects, even minimalistic approaches are recognizable. Pluralism "an sich" is not necessarily very interesting, for me it has been more a question of a kaleidoscopic writing based on a maximal variety brought out from a rather limited musical material.