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Ornamental air : for basset clarinet and orchestra

by Elena Kats-Chernin (2007)

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Ornamental air


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Ornamental air : for basset clarinet and orchestra / Elena Kats-Chernin.

Library shelf no. CD 1936 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (1 more)  

Work Overview

Ornamental Air (2007) for basset clarinet and chamber orchestra was jointly commissioned by North Carolina Symphony, City of London Sinfonia, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
In writing a piece for the basset clarinet, Kats-Chernin set out to accent the flexibility and colors of this unusual instrument, while giving it a natural home in the context of the orchestra. The wide range of the basset clarinet allows opportunity for virtuosic arpeggios and scales from the instrument's lowest to upper most register in a relatively short period of time, as demonstrated in the rhythmic and dance-like first movement. The second movement is slower and contemplative, beginning with a simple ornament which unfolds gradually into a broader motif based on Liszt's Libestraum. In contrast to the leaps and runs of the previous movement, the basset clarinet shows its deep and soulful qualities with long sweeping lines and sustained melody. The basset clarinet again shows its agility in the breathless final movement, as patterns shift in intervals around the centre of a chord, changing with each passing bar. The piece concludes after a virtuosic acoompanied cadenza-like material, tying Kats-Chernin's signature lyricism and relentless rhythmic energy together.

Work Details

Year: 2007

Instrumentation: Basset clarinet in A, 2 flutes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in F, strings.

Duration: 29 min.

Contents note: In 3 movements.

Written for: Michael Collins

Commission note: Commissioned by City of London Sinfonia, North Carolina Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

Work revised 2011

Performances of this work

12 Nov 2016: at Metropolitan Orchestra (Eugene Goossens Hall). Featuring Sarah-Grace Williams, Andrew Doyle, Metropolitan Orchestra.

29 Jun 2011: at City of London Sinfonia (Plaisterers' Hall). Featuring Michael Collins, City of London Sinfonia.

5 Dec 2009: at Tasmanian SO: Sublime (Federation Concert Hall, Hobart). Featuring Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Michael Collins, Baldur Brönnimann.

3 Dec 2009: at Tasmanian SO: Sublime (Princess Theatre, Launceston). Featuring Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Baldur Brönnimann, Michael Collins.

21 Nov 2009: at WASO: Elgar & Kats-Chernin (Perth Concert Hall). Featuring Paul Daniel, Michael Collins, West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

20 Nov 2009: at WASO: Elgar & Kats-Chernin (Perth Concert Hall). Featuring Paul Daniel, Michael Collins, West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

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