for bass clarinet and marimba (six-mallets)

Written: 2011
Duration: 5'
Instrumentation: bass clarinet and five octave marimba (six-mallets)
Upcoming World Premiere: American Modern Ensemble, Meighan Stoops, bass clarinet, Robert Paterson, marimba, May 1, 2011,Galapagos Art Space, Brooklyn, NY, USA.
Publisher: Bill Holab Music

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Note: a four-mallet version of this piece will be available this fall, 2019.


The idea for Clarinatrix originated with the title. My friend David Cote, a writer and librettist, used to date Meighan Stoops, another friend who is a clarinetist. On his blog, he often referred to her as the “clarinatrix”, a fictitious word loaded with implications. Since I have always thought of the bass clarinet as a powerful, sexy instrument, it seemed like a great idea to write a piece based on this title. The name conjures up the image of a bass clarinet playing dominatrix, so I incorporate certain techniques that seem dominatrix-like: slap tongues, whip-like melodic runs, marimshots (striking the marimba bars with the mallet heads and shafts at the same time) and hard, accented chords in the marimba part.