Postcards from Belgium (2013)
Work has been performed but has not yet been recorded. Sound clips are electronic realizations.
Commissioner: Jonathan Aubrey
July 2013, Belgian Clarinet Academy, Jonathan Aubrey, clarinet
Instrumentation: Solo Clarinet
Postcards from Belgium is a musical depiction of shared experiences at the Belgian Clarinet Academy. The BCA is a weeklong intensive study of clarinet held every summer in Ostend, Belgium with world class instruction by Robert Spring, Eddy Vanoosthuyse, and Julia Heinen. My own memories of attending the BCA in 2004 are similar to those of my commissioner, Jonathan Aubrey, whose delightful recollection of his BCA experiences in 2012 inspired me to write this piece.
One of the things that makes the BCA so unique is being immersed into the Belgian culture and making new friendships during the home stays. “Belgian Benevolence” is the recollection of the kindness and hospitality extended by the host families. The harmonies are made of up "open" 4ths and 5ths, symbolizing the host families opening their homes to the students of the BCA. In this movement, there is also a short tribute to Guido Six, and all the “dancing” he does to put this event together.
“Culinary Delights” recalls some of the delectable delights experienced in Belgium, from waffles and fries to beer and chocolate. I recall the wonderful sights and smells in the chocolate shops, the generous portions of delicious food during lunches at BCA, and my host families’ dinners of fresh bread, meats, and cheeses. The music depicts a short sampling of the temptations Belgian cuisine has to offer with its sweet and humorous character.
Movement three depicts a day off in the middle of the week which students often choose to spend in nearby Bruges. I remember a short train ride, a sudden down-pour at our arrival, and running for cover in the restaurants and shops. Mr. Aubrey also recalls the crazy weather in Belgium during July: sunny, hot, and calm one moment, and windy, cold, and rainy the next. “Adventures in Bruges” portrays these crazy weather patterns with sudden changes of tempo, mood, and dynamics.
The three movement titles are a play on the acronym BCA. The first movement also toys with the notes B, C, and A in its opening motives.