Through the exploration of sound and expressive possibilities of the “half-clarinet”, I obtained some amazing musical material. The result was the work Monologue of a Fallen Angel for a half-clarinet. Using improvised material, the form has been developed through my many performances, and in recent years the work has achieved its more or less final shape. Lakritze (Licorice) is a new version of the same work for half-clarinet, revised and expanded through (re)set improvised “comments” of the mezzosoprano, guitar and accordion. This ensemble version has been composed specifically for the 2013 Warsaw Autumn Festival.
A half-clarinet is obtained when the mouthpiece is attached directly to the lower half of the instrument. The invention, which I first used in 1986 in the trio Tongen, has the following characteristics:
1) A limited series of pitched, comprising unusual non-tempered interval relationships. Regular use of fingering is restricted to the right hand.
2) The left hand remains free, and it can be used as a mute (sordino). Through opening and closing the bell, the pitches can be changed (glissando and “fractures” in the partial-tone harmonics)
3) The half-clarinet can also be used without mouthpiece, in two ways: as a trumpet (sounds are generated by tight lips) or as a sound filter and resonator, with sounds sung by the performer into the acoustic tube. The best effect is reached through an interactive combination of both techniques.