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Music-by-the-Sea
for Basset Clarinet and string quartet
(in 4 parts)
   total duration: 16:01

Tuesday, April 18, 2000

A&E >Music>Music News



Music News
"..... This is challenging classical concert music of this century; subtle, quiet, with repeated phrases and pointillistic punctuation, smooth glissandi and haunting low notes from the basset clarinet. This instrument is rarely heard ....."




About the work



    Music-by the-Sea was commissioned by Chamberworks of Hamilton Ontario, Jack Mendelsohn, Artistic Director, for their 1999-2000 season and premiered on April 9, 200 at the du Maurier Limited Centre, and written while staying on the West Coast of Canada and living right next to the sea. Stephen Pierre premiered the clarinet part on his own Basset clarinet which extends the range of the instrument a fourth lower than the modern instrument. There is much speculation as to what the original instrument was that Mozart wrote for and whether these lower pitches were used in his clarinet concerto and the clarinet quintet K. 581.

    Although the work did not start out be anything regarding the sea-----its presence outside my window made me realize that it was taking as large a role in the process as I was. It was becoming the source of much inspiration as well as imbuing the work with its essential qualities. The main one was a paradoxical infinity of change within an unchanging and finite ocean. A finite but contained infinity. Infinity in a bottle, as it were.

    Later in 2001 Jaffa Paddon Productions produced an art-video of images of the West Coast set to the complete sound track of Music-by-the-Sea, recorded by The Lafayett String Quartet , resident string quartet at University of Victoria, British Columbia and Keith MacLeod, principal clarinet with the Victoria Symphony. The film was licensed for Air Canada to use for in-flight film shorts and the long term plan was to create a series new chamber music films representing various regions of the country and for the Airline to articulate to both Canadians and the rest of the world Canada's diversity, beauty, and cultural values. The subsequent events of September 11th 2001 put the remainder of the project on indefinite hold.






Part I   
   
duration: 4:20    
     

 




Part II   
    duration: 5:12  
        

 




Part III   
    duration: 1:45   
   

 




Part IV    
   
duration: 4:44  
     

 



Actual Review



Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Music News
A&E >Music>Music News

"The evening had a special moment to it due to the fact that a world premier by a Canadian composer, still living, was presented. Christopher Donison, who hails originally from Victoria, British Columbia, was commissioned by ChamberWORKS! to write a work. He did, while on the west coast and called it "Music-by-the-Sea" for basset clarinet and string quartet. Mr. Donison, who introduced his new work, made sure that we knew that the music was written "by the sea" not about the sea.

    I loved this piece although it probably did not sit well with all who where there that night. This is challenging classical concert music of this century; subtle, quiet, with repeated phrases and pointillistic punctuation, smooth glissandi and haunting low notes from the basset clarinet. This instrument is rarely heard and the extra low notes gave the composer ample room to move in.

    Stephen Pierre played with care and control. The strings shimmered and created waves of sound and had the mind leaping to Long Beach and Tofino on the western side of Vancouver Island, circling seagulls, drifting wood, footprints in the ancient sand. The whole four movement work gave me an organic and primal feeling. Beautiful music and hats off to ChamberWorks! for continuing the tradition of commissioning works by Canadian composers.

    The second piece on the program, was the ever popular and easy listening, :Eine Kleine Nachmusic" for string quintet by Mozart....."

    ".....After hearing this music I look forward to the final concert of the season on June 4th."




Programmes





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