David Niethamer, Clarinet

Instrumentation: Clarinet
Duration: 9:00
Premiere: 7/8/88
David Niethamer
International Clarinet Society, Richmond, VA

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Program Note:
Meridians (1988) was inspired by the ancient Asian practices based on the energy flowlines that are used to balance the body with acupuncture. The composition builds on expanding and contracting lines with contrasting qualities: the delicately focused motion of the first and third sections versus the dynamic outreaching of the second and fourth, the last culminating in a wildly energetic burst. The qualities of energy flow also suggested exploration of certain timbres and the shifting quality of these sounds as they move through the clarinet’s changeable register. These timbral explorations include microtonal inflections, multiphonics, and sung resonances projected by silent trills that change the shape of the vibrating air column. All of these techniques were explored in collaboration with David Niethamer, for whom Meridians was composed and to whom it is dedicated. It has been recorded by clarinetist Mindy Marie Pyle, and it is one of the subjects of her doctoral dissertation. –JS

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