Four solo’s for bass clarinet (2000 – 01)



1st Solo – Preparation

2nd Solo – Dance

3rd Solo – Song for Yana

4th Solo – ¡A!

The Four Solos for bass clarinet are characteristic of the undogmatic compositional style of Patrick van Deurzen. They represent a wide variety of influences: from different classical sources such as Bach and Wagner, to jazz and pop music; all mixed in a virtuosic and colourful sound.

The Four Solos are grouped two by two in slow/fast tempo and the whole work has a cyclic form. At the end of the fourth movement the beginning shimmers through and, as a moto perpetuum, the voyage could start again. Each of the four movements is a character-piece that represents a kind of improvisation, without actually improvising.

The first movement Preparation is a dreamy piece whose tempo is constantly fluctuating, and which deals with free association. It is as if the bass clarinet player, playing for himself, suddenly remembers certain music and plays it from memory.

The second movement Dance is much more straightforward and clear. There is just one fast tempo in which the bass clarinet is challenged to go to its very limits. Dance is an imaginary Bebop solo, supported by an imaginary funk-bass written by an apocryphal contemporary and family-member of Bach.

The third movement is, as the title Song for Yana already suggests, a simple song written for Van Deurzen’s first daughter who was born in 1999. This little song is a dreamy improvisation full of musical memories. The beginning could be a lullaby, followed by a lively adventure in which Lewis Carroll’s Alice and the Cheshire Cat suddenly appear.

The fourth movement, ¡A! is written for the Spanish bass clarinet-player Ainhoa Miranda and contains elements of the previous three movements. This last movement is the most physical one. Trilling, stamping, clicking, blowing and slapping in a wild intemperance of sound, at its climax it suggests the playing of a one-man band. A long farewell-melody ends the four-movement cycle in a soft and gentle way.

 Josuha Johnsonn 2007

Live Version (2012)