Talisker

Composed in
1993

For
Clarinet, Contrabassclarinet, Horn and 2 Percussions Solo, Clarinet Choir and 6 Percussions

Instrumentation
Clarinet Choir : 2 E-flat Clars., 12 B-flat Clars., 3 Alto Clars., 4 Bass Clars., 1 Contrabassclarinet.

Duration
30′

First performance
March 26, 27 (x2) and 28, 1993. Hall of the Central Station in Antwerp (B). Official Opening of “Antwerpen ’93” Cultural Capital of Europe. Walter BOEYKENS, clarinet; Takashi YAMANE, contrabassclarinet; André PICHAL, horn; Wim KONINK and Marcel ANDRIESSEN, percussion. The Walter Boeykens Clarinet Choir and the Mol Percussion Orchestra (B) conducted by Leo OUDERITS and Luc BREWAEYS (March 28).

Commissioned by
Antwerp Cultural Capital of Europe 1993

Dedicated to
Jacques Calonne

Commercial recordings
Megadisc MDC 7828/29 (2cd)

Publisher
Donemus

Luc on “Talisker” :

This work is the second in a series of pieces named after single malt whiskies. It was commissioned for the opening concert of “Antwerp Cultural Capital of Europe 1993” which had to take place in the enormous hall of the Antwerp Central Station. This building has an extremely long reverberation time of around 7 seconds, there are lots of stairs and galleries, so the idea was to make a work in which the building was integrated. I quite rapidly chose for the “homogeneous” orchestral sound of a clarinet choir, with some soloists and percussionists. About half of the clarinet choir plays from a gallery while the remainder is situated with the soloists in the center of the hall itself, more or less as in a “normal” concert situation.
The music starts with the 5 soloists only (the percussionists playing on 18 Gongs), quite surprizingly as a chamber piece which takes quite some time when suddenly the 6 orchestral percussionists drop a pair of cymbals on the floor and the full clarinet choir makes its entrance. Many multiphonics follow and have a first culmination in a fast percussion passage. Next comes a sequence of quasi-cadenzas for the contrabassclarinet, the clarinet and finally the horn and again the percussionists make a loud entrance on bell-like instruments, after some 10 minutes of silence. Because of the acoustic specificities of the hall the music evolves quite slowly. Near the end 6 clarinets play low D’s with their bell on timpani while moving up and down the timpani pedals, which gives an amazing phasing effect, amplified by the hall’s reverberation. Meanwhile, the other clarinettists move and walk around while playing as -slowly- everyone gets more or less together for a final kind of culminating march.

Luc Brewaeys