for Solo Clarinet and Orchestra
(Solo Clarinet in Bb - 220.127.116.11. – 18.104.22.168. – 2 Perc. – Strings: 22.214.171.124.2.)
Commissioned by Orchestra della Toscana with the support of SIAE CLASSICI D'OGGI
Premiere: 8 April 2021; Marco Ortolani (soloist) and Orchestra della Toscana conducted by Jader Bignamini.
Written for the clarinetist Marco Ortolani, the work stems from a commission by the Orchestra Regionale della Toscana realized with the support and contribution of the project SIAE Classici di Oggi. The title is a tribute to the essential, luminous and vibrant painting of Mark Rothko and his contemplation of a space-colour able to evoke mystical and immaterial atmospheres by investigating the enigma of unexplored and silent depths. Likewise, this score calls for a hypnotic listening, since the lack of any macroscopic events allows the attention to be focused on the refined textures and on the perception of minimum variants, based on the relations of closeness or distance belonging to the peculiar timbres of the instruments involved. Just as Rothko places colour at the centre of every emotion, depriving the observer of any reassuring figurative references, I aimed to place the timbre at the centre of all dramaticity. Above all the timbre of the clarinet, which has no strong moments or facile virtuosity in this score. I did not ask the player for any virtuosity that could be appreciated in terms of the quantity or the speed of the notes produced, but I preferred to assign the clarinet the role of emotional referent of the score, enwrapping it the folds of the orchestra. The work opens with long and extended notes, which mark the extreme borders of the high and low register of the instrument. Fragile lines of multiphonic sounds float in the central register, suspended within the distance that separates the opposite poles, generating wakes that are reflected in the stratified veils of the orchestra. The possibility to break up the long notes into underblown multiphonics, obtained by delicately easing the tension needed to produce the high sound and letting shades of low sounds emerge, allows the space to be enlarged vertically, creating depths emphasized by the strings, which depict backdrops at times drawn by single notes, at others in groups, sustaining the breath of the soloist and reflecting the variety of timbres like mirrors. The sound of the clarinet condenses into an apparent stasis, inhabited by a wholly interior movement that translates into the micro-articulation of detail and the tension of vibrant and dynamically changing sounds. The soloist is an immobile engine, as can be deduced from the very first notes that rip through the silence and attract towards it the action of the orchestra, which amplifies its sound, reverberating and multiplying it, leaving the listener with multiform condensations of chromatic clouds and immaterial atmospheres. The tempo loses its pulsation in favour of a continuous flow, which dilates and slows down the perception of the listening.