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Circo II was written in 1996 during the composer's course of postgraduate study at the University of Canterbury and is dedicated to Deborah Ashworth, a bass clarinettist from Wellington, who gave its first performances. The inspiration for Circo II was the desire to explore the range of sounds of a lesser-used instrument, sounds which may appear very unlike a bass clarinet. Compositions by William O.Smith (USA) and Peter Scholes (NZ) were influential during the composition of the work. The bass clarinet begins, singing in its uppermost register, rather like a male voice in its falsetto register. Soon it descends to its deepest notes, eventually breaking out in a display of harmonics, trills and 'colour fingerings'. The work ends as it began, returning to the smooth vocal lines.
Dedicated to Deborah Ashworth
Performed by Andrew Uren (bass clarinet)