2020 (v2.0) – Bass flute and bass clarinet

First performed on 5 March 2023 by rarescale (Carla Rees, bass flute & Sarah Watts, bass clarinet) at Echo Echo Dance Theatre, Derry.

The premise of this work is very simple: a pair of highly ornamented, meandering lines. The lines start at points in the exact centre of each instrument’s range and explore a gentle arch which ends in the instrument’s lowest range.

Whilst the pitch content of the ornamental figures was randomly generated, the generalised nature and structure of each one was taken from François Couperin’s didactic work L’art de toucher le clavecin (first published in 1716). Written to instruct keyboard (harpsichord) players in performance practice, this work became one of the primary sources for keyboard fingering during the Baroque era as well as being a source of instruction on ornamentation.

In addition to the forms of embellishment taken from Couperin, the two lines are further ornamented with a welter of additional figuration and colourings: trills (pitched and timbral), flutter tonguing, breath sounds, key clicks, as well as multiphonics.

DUO is one of three pieces on the album “Trope”, recorded by Aisling Agnew (flute/ bass flute) and Sarah Watts (clarinet/ bass clarinet).

Recording and mastering by Cormac O’Kane at RedBox Recording Studios in Belfast.

This recording project was made possible by a generous grant from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.