Cherry Blossom and a Wrapped Thing; After Hokusai

Clarinetist Shawn Earle performs Cherry Blossom and a Wrapped Thing; After Hokusai

Instrumentation: Amplified Clarinet and Multichannel or Stereo Electronics
Duration: 7:52
Commission: Clarinetist F. Gerard Errante
Premiere: 10/27/04
Clarinetist F. Gerard Errante, TechnoSonics
Dome Room of the Rotunda, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

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Program Note:
Cherry Blossom and a Wrapped Thing: After Hokusai was inspired by a print of the same name by the extraordinary Japanese printmaker known as Hokusai (1760 – 1849). I encountered it in a sumptuous collection of his prints in Tokyo and was immediately struck by the subtle mystery of both its subject matter and execution. The cherry blossom speaks of the beauty and brevity of life; the wrapped thing of its ineffability.

My piece is scored for amplified clarinet and stereo electronics. I fashioned the latter from slivers of Sea of Reeds, an earlier  piece commissioned by clarinetist F. Gerard Errante, who commissioned this second one for his Delicate Balance CD on Aucourant Records. These slivers have been transformed into an entirely different form and take root in new ways, wrapping around the performer and audience, sometimes drifting to earth, sometimes floating above. The sound processing and multi-channel audio were designed using RTcmix. –JS

Press Quotes:
“…a new virtual landscape, completely natural and alive with a quiet serenity so powerful one can almost  smell the cherry blossoms…” –The Clarinet Review

“The quietude and spaciousness of Judith Shatin’s Cherry Blossom and a Wrapped Thing are wonderful things. Cherry Blossom has rich and sumptuous electronics that envelope the clarinet in a blissful and dreamy sonic fabric.” –Sequenza 21, CD Reviews

“Judith Shatin’s elegant Cherry Blossom and a Wrapped Thing; After Hokusai, for amplified clarinet and multi-channel audio…aptly evoked the sensibilities of the original art and was easily the best piece of the many performed by Errante at the conference. –SEAMUS, Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner

“Cherry Blossom and a Wrapped Thing – After Hokusai is Judith Shatin’s contribution to the album….Shatin creates gossamer, translucent textures that envelope the clarinet without obscuring the almost Messiaen long lines; Errante not only provides us with these throaty lines, but also, magically, delivers delicate timbral trills and quartertones, mirroring the nigh-celestial gestures Shatin provides in the electronic part. Somehow, Errante effortlessly delivers a number of graceful flutter tongue passages as well, including a gentleness that at times becomes otherworldly. There is a tenderness and organic warmth to this piece that does not quite exist anywhere else on the album, and the formal shape is deliriously satisfying, making the work’s placement on the album in no way incidental.” –SEAMUS Newsletter 2010-3, Thomas Dempster

Learn More:
To learn more from the performer’s point of view, here is Shawn Earle’s take on the piece!

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