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Performing arts studies
The investigation of the emergence of solo bass clarinet music in Ireland evolved
out of my experience learning Irish contemporary bass clarinet music with Dr Paul
Roe. The intention was to discover why there had not been any solo bass clarinet
music in Ireland prior to 2000, as well as to determine which events influenced the
creation of the repertoire.
Data from interviews was vital to understanding how the bass clarinet repertoire in
Ireland has steadily grown since 2000 and a search through The Irish Times archives
provided information about bass clarinet activity in Ireland. A list of solo bass
clarinet repertoire by Irish composers was compiled using the Contemporary Music
Centre’s online database, composers’ websites, and Roe’s personal collection of
music. It was revealed that a significant amount of compositions were written for or
premiered by Roe. Events in his career affected his interest in bass clarinet
specialization, including his involvement with Concorde and collaborations with
Harry Sparnaay. The importance of combining solo and chamber music
performance is mirrored in the careers of Josef Horák, Sparnaay, and Henri Bok.
Five pieces were chosen from the repertoire to demonstrate the diversity and
explorative nature of many compositions by Irish composers. These pieces are
Continuum by Rob Canning, O Breath by Michael Holohan, Monster by Ed Bennett,
Composure by David Bremner, and Periastron by Gráinne Mulvey. Two more pieces,
Rattle by Amanda Feery and Stung by Frank Lyons, were examined in detail. All of
the compositions were analysed from a performer’s perspective. Composers were
influenced by Roe’s open-minded and creative approach to bass clarinet
performance, and the repertoire reflects this.
Barz, M. (2017) A Contextual Analysis of Solo Bass Clarinet Music by Irish Composers, Research Thesis, Technological University Dublin.