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[Ben Phelps looks at a crane]

Works > Chamber music- eclectic > Musical Offering (for bass clarinets)

Musical Offering (for bass clarinets)

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2007. 7 minutes.

Musical Offering (for bass clarinets) was commisioned by the bass clarinet duo Sqwonk. They may be the only one, I don't know. In order to solve this somewhat absurd assignment, I challenged myself by writing a complex canon, in which the second voice is transposed a half-step higher than the first voice. Further, the following voice gradually cuts out notes, so that it "catches up" to the leader. This means that it begins quite a bit later from the initial voice, but eventually is only a few notes behind, still a minor second higher, until the two voices end up in unison.

Composing a strict canon in this manner is only difficult if you care about how the end result sounds. Anyone can invent a process and then plug notes in and just live with the result. The real challenge comes when you are trying to fit these absurd requirements into a tonal framework. And then make it sound good for bass clarinets.

This piece could easily be reworked for just about any two instruments. So if the need ever arises, I may do just that.