For the first time in my Spotlight series, I have the opportunity to focus on a piece written for me.
I’ve been friends with Ania Sundstrom for a few years now, and performing with her in Figmentum for the last two. When developing a program for the Music By Women Festival at the Mississippi University for Women last year, I wanted a new piece to pair with Liza Lim’s Sonorous Body. Ania came through with her excellent ONI, which I premiered at the festival and performed again on Figmentum’s June 14 concert in San Diego.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but how better to return than with a new Spotlight post?
Composed in 2008 for clarinetist Richard Haynes, Liza Lim’s Sonorous Body is a wonderful exploration of the instrument’s microtonal possibilities. I had the opportunity to perform this piece on Figmentum’s “Rock, Paper, Toy Pianos” concert on February 15, and again on March 7 at the Music By Women Festival at the Mississippi University of Women.
In a lot of ways, this piece is quite approachable – the range is conservative by contemporary standards, with few notes above E6 (and those that are higher are the result of easily produced multiphonics); there are few virtuosic passages that are exceedingly fast or rapidly shifting register; and the whole work is extraordinarily idiomatic (a testament to her work with Haynes). However, because of the wide variety of techniques used throughout the piece, Sonorous Body is perhaps best suited for a player already familiar with contemporary clarinet techniques. This is an excellent piece for anyone seeking to become more familiar with the clarinet’s quarter tone scale, as every quarter tone between A3 and E6 is utilized.
Here’s Richard Haynes’ performance from late last year: