Solo Bb Clarinet & Wind Ensemble
Duration: 12 minutes
Written for Linda Merrick and Birmingham Symphonic Winds, African Dances is a continuous work for solo clarinet and wind ensemble consisting of five individual sections, each drawing on different aspects of Pan-African music. Many of the structural elements within the piece are based on the styles and forms that are characteristic of the African choral tradition. The rhythmic content of the piece contains many of the complex cross-rhythms and patterns that are predominant throughout African music, and particularly African Percussion.
African Dances was first performed by Linda Merrick and Birmingham Symphonic Winds, conducted by Keith Allen, on 19th June 1999, at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham.
Publisher: Faber Music
Solo Bb Cl., Picc., Fls. 1.2, Obs. 1.2, C.A., Bb Cls. 1.2.3, Bb B. Cl., Bssns 1.2,
F Hns. 1.2, Bb Tpts. 1.2.3, Trbs 1.2.3, Tuba,
D. Bass, Timp., Perc 1.2.3
African Dances was the first substantial work that I wrote after finishing college. Keith Allen knew I had written a piece (Time Lines) on an African theme, and asked me to consider doing the same for this piece.
The basis for the piece is the clarinet's construction from the wood of the African Blackwood Tree and its subsequent development into the instrument we know today.
In terms of the instrumentation, the decision to omit saxophones and euphoniums was primarily down to issues of balance, as was my decision that all wind parts should be considered as one player per part.
The piece was never really conceived as a concerto, but should have more of a concertante feel. Although the clarinet is the soloist, much of the rhythmic complexity resides within the ensemble parts.