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Ten Bells for Turning Forty

for clarinet and percussion

Year:  2001   ·  Duration:  6m
Instrumentation:  may be performed on any member of the clarinet family

Year:  2001
Duration:  6m
Instrumentation  may be performed on any mem...

Composer:   James Gardner

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: Page of performance notes and Page 1 of clarinet part

See details ➔


Score can be purchased in digital and hard copy format from Composers Edition.

'Ten Bells for Turning Forty' was written as a fortieth birthday present for Andrew Sparling, whose playing I have enjoyed and admired since I first heard him perform at Huddersfield in 1992. The 'Ten Bells' of the title, represented in a crassly literal-minded way in the performance, is a pub on the corner of Commercial Street and Fournier Street, where Andrew's birthday gathering was to have taken place. The clarinet music consists of ten gestures which are chosen by the player from a repository of twenty-two variants of seven basic types ("tropes") given in the score, according to a strict set of rules. The percussionist has ten fixed tropes, the first six consisting of a single bell strike. The piece is conceived as a sort of enigmatic game or ritual, with the players obeying arcane rules.

Dedication note

for Andrew Sparling on his fortieth birthday

Performance history

26 Sep 2002: Performed by Andrew Sparling (clarinet) and Julian Warburton (percussion); The Warehouse, London