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for bass clarinet and viola

Year:  1998   ·  Duration:  11m 30s

Year:  1998
Duration:  11m 30s

Composer:   James Gardner

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: Page 1

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Programme notes are the creation myths of music; titles their pseudonyms.

Some meanings packed into the word burr, which may well have affected the course of the composition:

A circle of light round the moon, or a nebulous disk of light enfolding it. A rough ridge or edge left on metal or other substance after cutting, punching etc. A rough sounding of the letter ‘r’; hence a rough or dialectal utterance, to speak with rough articulation. The Banyan tree. A whetstone.

From the above list, please choose your own red herrings.

If we change ‘dialectal’ to ‘dialectical’ in the above, it may give a good clue to what the piece is ‘about’.

Burr, finished in 1998, is the first – and so far the only completed – piece in a series called Three Shadow Pastorals, all duets for a clarinettist and viola player. The other two, rime and blaze, are dedicated to the memory of my mother, and John Coltrane respectively; burr to that of Morton Feldman.

Dedication note

to the memory of Morton Feldman

Contents note

one movement; first piece of "Three Shadow Pastorals"

Performance history

16 Nov 2002: Performed by Jim Sullivan (bass clarinet), Mark Menzies (violin); Disney Music hall, CalArts, valencia, California

01 Jul 2007: Performed by Richard Haynes (bass clarinet) and William Lane (viola), at Elder Hall, University of Adelaide, in Adelaide.

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