Stonepoem for Clarinet and Tape

clarinet and tape
Text Michael Harlow
 Winterthur, Switzerland
 Paris, France

This was written for a concert (Chance Meeting) in the Metzgasse, Winterthur, with students of the conservatory. The concert was built round a new version of Piece of 4 for flute, alto flute, clarinet, and piano. Other works performed were:

  • Three Chance Pieces plus oneDominik Blum played these from memory—he later recorded them for radio DRS.
  • Krähenalles
  • Stonepoem for Clarinet and Tape

The proportions in the piece are derived from Michael Harlow's Stonepoem — the use of my Abelian Form is described in the score as follows:

Introduction to the score
Introduction to the score

The Harlow poem not only gives me a set of simple proportions, it also gives me inspiration for the ‘emotional’ content of the piece. Using my subjective reactions I assigned a ‘feeling’ to each line of the poem

Line 1: witty, terse, fragmentary — giocoso Line 2: (the same as 1) Line 3: gentle, tender — dolce Line 4: (the same as 1) Line 5: anxious, rapid, hectic — nervoso Line 6: firightening. menacing — minacioso Line 7: gentle, lyrical, calm — calmo

I drew up a diagram of the piece showing durations and “feelings” of sections and sub-sections. A major problem arose: How does one have (for example) a sub-section dolce within a section minacioso. I decided that the tension created by this contradiction could only be interesting!

Stonepoem: Feelings
Stonepoem: Feelings

The tape uses only stone sounds. I took the sound material to Moritz Wetter, a student who had been in the group Brigitte and I took to London. He had just established his own studio and within about 5 hours he had put the work together according to my instructions. The tape is not Ablelian, but has 7 clear sections corresponding to the seven larger sections (arabic numbers in the score). This tape pleased me so much I also let it be played solo in Paris: at a concert at the UPIC course which I attended in 1987.