Grit 'n Grind (2012)
Instrumentation: Bass Clarinet Solo
Grit ’n Grind was commissioned by my good friend and very talented bass clarinetist, Anne Watson, professor of clarinet at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The idea for the piece came to me in Anne’s Facebook status update about an upcoming 5K race that she was to partake in. The bizarre names of the obstacles she listed sounded like movement titles, thus giving me the inspiration for the piece.
The title can be understood both literally and figuratively. “Grit” reflects the determination, strength, and indomitable spirit needed to overcome a daunting physical or mental obstacle, and “Grind” refers to a task which requires much work, exertion or perseverance. The virtuosity of the three movements are meant to be physically exhausting to play one after the other, much like running a race or exerting yourself over a long period of time. The intricate interval patterns and complicated rhythms present both physical and mental challenges to the performer. Symbolically, the piece represents the obstacles one may encounter in life. Musically, the driving rhythms and challenging octave leaps evoke thoughts of endurance, persistence, and momentum.