Skra

Bb clarinet, fixed electronic media (2009)

Duration: 10:00

Recorded on i need no words Neuma 450-109

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Program Note

I found the inspiration for Skra in the artist Mary McDonnell’s Red Line Drawings (marymcdonnellart.com). The meditative quality of these works, seemingly simple “parallel” lines, upon contemplation feel as though one may be seeing their intimacy from a great distance. I also love the beauty of their “primitiveness,” a sense of a work of art in the act of becoming itself. Creating the composition followed a similar conceptual process, as I used recordings of Mary making the drawings and the ambient sounds in her studio to accompany somewhat “primitive” sound on the clarinet—keys clicking, air passing through the instrument colored in various ways—creating the sense of a sonic landscape becoming itself. There is one basic gesture in the piece, moving from hearing pen scratches from inside the paper (from recordings made using contact mics) gradually to the external environment in and outside of the artist’s studio. I am grateful to Alan Wonneberger for technical assistance in making this piece, and to E. Michael Richards for his imaginative work on extended techniques for the clarinet, another important inspiration for the work.