Dark Embers (2011)
Instrumentation: Two Bass Clarinets
Dark Embers was commissioned by Matthew Miracle and completed in January, 2011. When I began writing a duet for two bass clarinets, I knew I wanted to showcase the instruments’ power and agility. The title came to me as I was gathering ideas and sketching motives at the beginning of the writing process. “Dark Embers” evoked images of smoldering hot, smoky coals which can spark a fire at any moment. Fittingly, the character of the music is fast with volatile changes of gestures. At times the instruments play a single melodic line in unison and then break apart, slightly out of synchronization, creating a blurring of the line. Other times, the instruments play in propelling parallel gestures, depicting the always present danger of spontaneous combustion. When the “Embers” encounter a final wave of momentum, will it lead to ignition or irrigation?