INVOCATIONS
(duration ~ 21:00)
Concerto for bass clarinet and chamber orchestra
Orchestration – 0000, 0000, perc(2), hrp, pno, strings, solo bass clarinet

To purchase the score and parts for this work, please see the print music catalogues

Program note –

Invocations is in four movements. following an overall pattern of slow, fast, slow, fast. The construction is deliberately sparse, emphasising instrumental colour & intimate interplay between soloist and orchestra. This gives the work chamber-like qualities and a delicately poised sound world, even when the music is at its most energetic.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the first movement. It begins with unisons – piano doubling the bass clarinet, joined by marimba, solo violin and harp, then by the lower strings. Their colours exposed by the absence of a traditional bass line or accompanying chords, these instruments stake out the opening theme. Later, sinuous string melodies, hovering around just a few notes, provide contrast.
The agitated second movement develops more complex textures as the bass clarinet and solo violin engage in a dialogue. And there is a spirit of adventure in the bass clarinet’s special technical effects as the soloist plays with harmonics, multiphonics, flutter tonguing and swooping glissandi above a relentless accompaniment from the strings and snare drum.
The third movement begins with the bass clarinet alone – here cast in a meditative and introspective role. Important harp and piano parts provide a bell-like accompaniment, over which we hear the moodily expressive melodies of the solo part. Effective use is made, too, of sustained strings chords played without vibrato.
From its intial flourish the final movement is a whirlwind of changing metres and displaced accents. Without being disoriented we are led on a sprightly and rhythmic dance where certain beats just happen to go missing occasionally! This movement brings together elements from the preceding movements: the unison colours of the first movement: the meditative qualities of a lyrical theme suspended above sustained chords: and the extended techniques of the bass clarinet, including an impressive harmonic glissandi that leads to the final climax and a magnificent close.
Invocations was Highly Commended at the Paul Lowin Orchestral Award 1997