Four Fantasies is a difficult clarinet and marimba duo which paints vivid pictures of environments such as a vast green plain, a chilling snowblind, and a flying mechanical fortress. The work, while difficult, is very accessible to audiences and exhibits a clear influence of video game music and aesthetics.
Genre: Duet for Clarinet & Marimba | # of Players: 2
Level: Difficult | Duration: 16:00
My daydreams rarely involve any sort of storytelling or personal interaction. Instead, my mind tends to create detailed environments, almost like interactive still images, in which I can simply exist. Each movement of the Four Fantasies represents a different situation conceived in this way. The work’s thematic and musical material is heavily influenced by video game music and aesthetics.
“Sunrise over Endless Green Expanse” depicts a wide open, grassy plain, with some intermittent trees, but otherwise nothing but green grass and blue sky as far as the eye can see. Musically, the movement begins with a “sunrise,” followed by a rejoiceful, odd-metered dance basking in warmth. Dusk eventually arrives before a brief revisiting of the dance.
“Gazing into a Snowblind” is meant to sound hopeless, defeated, and lonely, as if out in the snowy wilderness with no one else for miles. The chorale-style clusters in the marimba allude to snow’s natural beauty, while the clarinet provides plenty of dissonance to reflect the direness of the situation.
“A Brief Encounter with a Strange People” is a very short folk dance with some silly, unexpected moments.
“Floating Fortress of Gears” paints a picture of a large, mechanical tower floating in a grey sky as it slowly travels into view, then back off into the distance. Many of the harmonic and formal elements are symmetrical, reflecting the symmetry of the flight path and the fortress itself. Musically, the movement begins by gradually constructing the primary melodic and accompanimental ideas from what initially sounds random. A new section, symmetrical within itself, starts as the fortress finishes coming into view. The opening section then returns as the fortress floats back off into the distance, with the main thematic material being gradually deconstructed.
Four Fantasies is dedicated to Dr. Jackie Eichhorn, who played clarinet for the work’s official premiere at Tennessee Tech University in March, 2018.
- Marco Scirripa