Pascal Dusapin’s work, Duo for Two, operates in this way, as an exploration of this schizophrenic discord.
Through a genuine pas de deux in which the partners seduce and reject each other within a centrifugal force, Duo for Two sounds like an imaginary dance, with marked accents and sounds alluding to free jazz.
Bruno Mantovani’s work challenges the interpreters to explore sound fusion. METAL (this title may suggest an alloy) is based on very tense sound superpositions and bold relays between both instruments.
Through very rhythmic combinations causing groovy sensations, the Bb clarinet and the bass clarinet seem complementary – one forming the reflection of the other – the blending finally creating the desired alchemy.
Philippe Hersant’s Ten Duos are to be savoured as miniatures illustrating a guide on the art of a twovoice dialogue. Combined or separated, united or simply adjoined, allies or opponents, the two voices sometimes appear to be evolving together (No.1), sometimes face-to-face (No. 4, No. 6), embracing each other (as in the No. 5, where the voices seek complete, sensual fusion), rejecting or respectfully ignoring one another (as in No. 10).
Sezisler (translated as intuitions or perceptions) from Ahmet Adnan Saygun has a very rhapsodic nature. This work (dating back to 1933, by far the oldest work recorded here) is written as a succession of five short autumnal movements, playing on dialogue and counterpoint, privacy and restraint.
As for Guillaume Connesson, writing for two clarinets was the chance of bringing us into the Scenes from Contemporary Life, as if its prosaic side were a way of answering to the sound of the clarinet, or more likely to the idea of a duet. The instruments cry out joyfully before the displays in the Museum Visit, courting each other gallantly during a Candlelit Dinner. In The DJ’s nightmare, the two clarinets are carried away by powerful and almost hallucinogenic rhythms, evoking a sort of schizoid techno dance.
In the introduction of Parking Schubert, Bernard Cavanna manages to create the illusion of one single instrument playing several voices simultaneously. Thanks to parallel writing for both clarinets, he conjures up sounds from an organ grinder or from a sheng (Chinese mouth organ). However the originality of this work comes also from the idea of duplicity that the clarinet is capable of, when an ethnic melody (evoking Greece) comes to jostle against the more classical sounds of the instrument. From the same is born the diverse, from the similar is born the strange.
Michael Jarrell’s work pulls us vertiginously deeper into the issue of doubling. One clarinet (the Bb clarinet) hides the other (the clarinet in A). The idea of mating these fraternal twins whose sounds are so similar is paradoxical. The title M.P / P.M. (the initials of the work’s creators, Michel Portal and Paul Meyer) expresses this false twinning.
The first movement is a reformulation of a part of the Assonance material (clarinet solo, composed in 1983), but splintered between two clarinets who share the melodic line. The second movement begins with troubling overlapping sounds between the two instruments who each echo as the shadow of the other. In the second part, the use of multiphonic sounds gives birth to true polyphony, where the composition is fully choral. The final is a breathtaking explosion of these two twin stars, speeding by like comets through the spatial vastness of possible colours and dynamics.
Daniel D’Adamo treats us to a different sort of counterpoint in Goodbye Universe \ X. Rather than seeking synchronism and parallelism between the voices, he weaves them in a more articulated manner, with surprise attacks and resonating echoes, causes followed by their effects or by involution. In the end, it is more a contradictory or dialectical way of imagining here the encounter between two other instruments that are rarely paired up: the Bb clarinet and the Eb piccolo clarinet.
With dialogue, the option of discrepancy, of irony and debate comes forth. Bojidar Dimov invites us to these initiatives of language, with his Rituals for Clarinet Duo.
Here, the division of the clarinet family is absolute, from the very rare high-pitched Ab to the also rare double-bass clarinet, in a dizzying alliance of the opposites.
At the heart of all this high-tempered sonorous bantering suddenly appears the option of the spoken word (and before it, the phoneme), as testified by the voices of the two clarinettists from time to time.
We have truly enjoyed creating this recording, especially while conferring with the composers. They all gave us tremendous support and attention, along with precious advice, all for which we thank them wholeheartedly.
We hope we have preserved all the living matter of their music through our recordings, in order to share it with you.