Whirled Music (for Bb bass clarinet and 5-octave marimba) was arranged in 2015 upon the invitation of American percussionist Bryan Hummel for performance during his 2016 US tour. The original score (for E 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, held at 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 bass 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.
I extend my thanks to Patrick Englert and Bryan Hummel for giving the world premiere performance of this arrangement on the 24th of March, 2016 at the Recital Hall, School of Music, Arizona State University, USA.