Whirled Music (for Bb clarinet and 5-octave marimba) was arranged in 2015 upon the invitation of the US percussionist Bryan Hummel for performance during his 2016 US tour. The original score (for alto saxophone and 5-octave marimba) was commissioned by Translucent Duo (Bernard Lagana & David Lockeridge) for premiere performance at the Australasian Saxophone & Clarinet Conference 2013, presented by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Scored in three movements (A-B-A), Whirled Music hits the ground running at a speed of around 120 crotchet beats per minute, faster still if the performers let it have its head. Fuelled by a high octane blend of semiquavers and chromaticism, the music shifts through gears while negotiating twists, turns, dips, climbs and spirals in a virtuosic display of highly energized unison bebop-like arabesques, fast rumba-like grooves and glimpses of clear, delicate lyricism.
During the second movement, the clarinet finds itself travelling on a not-too-bumpy, not-too-smooth marimba highway of gently pulsating tuplets, all the while issuing forth a bravura tale which takes us deep into tense, cadenza-like territory and back out again.
The third movement comes to life in musical ‘fits and starts’ before sending us whirling back in time via a shortcut through Movement 1, then on to a brief coda and a race to the finish line. – M.O.