<<Equipoise>> was written as a test piece, intended to present a challenge to the virtuosity and expressive capability of the finer players of the bass clarinet - and to tax the instrument.
As a form, the piece poises a rapid percussive episode between two outer sections of expressive line that are sounded over sostenuto support chords in the piano : counterbalancing the central section and the two outer parts.
Tremolos and trills are a feature of the piece, as are alternative fingerings. Bariolage-style 'spiking' technique emphasises cross-tessitura pitches accentuated from within rapid alternation of notes, further complicated by an intervallic microtonal offset.
The relationship between the bass clarinet and the piano is intended to be kept in equipoise through the avoidance of inequality of importance between the rôles of the two instruments. The Piano is thus intended not merely as an accompanimental figure but a fully developed component - no apologies for the rhythmic complexity of the writing.
It follows that the piano should have it’s own territory, however, towards the end, the piano is allowed to trespass upon the distinctive line of the Bass Clarinet; quoting a short deponent solo passage as the Bass Clarinet surrenders to the weight of a state of expectation for equal likelihood.
Programme note by the Composer
© 2005 Andrew March