Performing: Prelude by Krzysztof Penderecki & – in ten slow circles by Libby Larsen
Paired with Artwork: Assemblage by Deana Lawson
Musician statement: The Prelude by Krzysztof Penderecki starts with a simple note sounded by a lengthy silence tht shorts as more notes are introduced and you are exposed to more and more musical material. Then, at the end, the piece returns to it’s simple beginnings with a new understanding having travelled the musical landscape of the work. I liken this to walking into a gallery and seeing a piece like Deana Lawson’s Assemblage. From a distance you see a blending of colors and as you get closer the work comes into focus. The photos remind you of events and people and the art is put into context. Then you walk away and the colors once again blend together and you see the collage as it was in the beginning, yet with a new understanding having travelled through the memories it evoked.
About the music: Prelude by Krzysztof Penderecki: This composition, just over three minutes long, was written in 1987 as a present for the British composer Paul Patterson on his 40th birthday. It was not the first time that Penderecki made someone a gift of a solo miniature. He had even developed his own concept for such occasions; for instance, he notated the music without bar lines and left the performer a wide margin of interpretative freedom. The Prelude is based on a symmetrical arch form, both with respect to tempi (slow-fast-slow) and to sound material. It opens with a single, quiet, pulsating G note, which transforms into a “sighing motif” typical of Penderecki. This motif gradually moves upward to higher registers, surrounded by more and more sounds and their combinations. After reaching the fortissimo culmination, the motif moves back to a lower register, the music calms and we return musically to the starting point.
-in ten slow circles by Libby Larsen comes from a larger work entitled Dancing Solo written for Ohio State University clarinet professor Caroline Hartig and premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1994. Of the work Larsen writes:
“Dancing alone—improvising with the shadows, the air, on an inner beat, upon a fleeting feeling—has always enthralled me. With Dancing Solo, I am making a dance for clarinet, a dance composed of color, rhythm, beat implied and explicit, and breath: the music is the dance and the dance is the music.”
Hild Peersen is the principal clarinetist of the Westerville Symphony as well as its executive director. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Otterbein University.