by Herman Rechberger

Passionate Flames

Concerto for Clarinet

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Herman Rechberger


Fennica Gehrman


This concerto involves mugham scale material and musical styles drawn from Azerbaijani traditional music. The first movement is based on 2 Tesnif songs in mugham Humayun. The second movement stays close to the love-song style Ashiq and uses mugham Bayati coban (in transposition) with its continuously accompanying dominant seventh. The main themes of the third movement are in mugham Caharqah as used in the instrumental Reng.

The concertante group (Solo Bb Clarinet [or with a few changes in the high register, Bass clarinet], string quartet and in the third movement a frame drum [deff]) is embedded in a spectral soundscape, performed by the string orchestra. This spectrum is partly colouring the concertante group or emphasizing its overtone structures. In terms of visual art one could speak about a "smouldering" of flames. More vivid string figures refer to the movements of flames.

The viola part in the second movement with its heavily ornamented melody around tonal centre g is symbolizing the spirit of an oriental spike-fiddle kemancha. The third movement goes back to the mood of the first one, but this time in a more complex way. The frame drum plays a very important rhythmic role.

The clarinet part should be played in a very expressive manner (oriental playing techniques are of great advantage). The pitch bends (or fluctuations) should be applied on the indicated sustained notes and they should never exceed the interval value of a 1/4 step. Where pitch bends for the strings are not real intervals but more like producing interferences by means of rocking the finger up or downwards.

Aa natural harmonics for the strings are written as they sound. For convenience the ordinal number of the overtone series are indicated (e.g. 1 = basic pitch, 2 = octave, 3 = octave & fifth, 4 = double octave, 5 = double octave & third etc. The sevents natural harmonic is a bit lower than the temperated and is always indicated by an arrow in the score). The clarinet part is written in Bb. The frame drum is left hand holded according to oriental performance practise.

© Herman Rechberger, 2001


2vln, vla, vlc, dr, str, cl/bcl solo (dr=framedrum, cl/bcl)


Works for Orchestra or Large Ensemble


Mikko Raasakka, clarinet, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, cond. Osmo Vänskä, Crusell Music Festival, Uusikaupunki, August 9, 2003.


1. Täsniflär; 2. Ashig; 3. Räng.

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