duration: 9 minutes
Smack! was inspired by the big band leader
Fletcher Henderson whose innovations were one of the main contributory
factors that lead to the swing era in the 1930s and 40s. His nickname
Despite his innovative ideas and keen sense of musicial adventure, his
career was blighted by public indifference and the dilution of hie ideas
by white band leaders. He always aimed for virtuosic ensemble passages
with plenty of space to feature his jazz soloists - he was the first band
leader to coax Louts Armstrong out of New Orleans and to employ Coleman
My piece honours his sense of invention and pours scorn on the indifference!
Just as Fletcher Henderson build his own soundworld out of the material
around him. I have built my own soundworld out of material from his work.
My piece reinvents this material using my own harmonic, textural and structural
"Smack" was written for Tubalate and lasts about ten minutes.
Phillip Clark's music glides effortlessly
between classical music and jazz. He has been described as a "master
of deconstructing" by Dave Brubeck and Michael Finnissy sees his
music as being "unique and distinguished". He is fascinated
by putting together musics that dont belong and this gives his pieces
a juicy recklessness.
He had his early work performed by the London Sinfonietta Soloists, Joanna
MacGregor, the Basle Soloists and Alison Wells. In 1995 he was joint winner
of the first BBC Symphony Orchestra Composers Forum and the resulting
piece City Mosaic was broadcast by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted
by Pascal Rophe in February 1997. Other performances in 1996 included
Foolish Thing by members of the Philharmonia as part of the South
Bank Birtwistle Festival, Steinzas One by Fiona Kimm and the Nash
Ensemble at the Spitalfields Festival and Sparkling Edge by the
City of London Sinfonia conducted by Mark Forkgen.
His love and encyclopaedic knowledge of jazz always informs his work,
including the ensemble piece Corporate Blues written for the Clarion
Ensemble and his String Quartet for the Brodsky Quartet. June 1999
saw performances of a new version of Sparkling Edge by the Romanian
Radio Chamber Orchestra under Neil Thomson and Triumph Song by
the Aleph Ensemble at the Bath Festival. His Crepuscule March is
part of an ongoing concern in combining jazz improvisers with classical
ensembles which started with his fifty minute epic Inventing Fiction.
In 2000 he was commissioned to write Voice Of An Angle for the
Composers Ensemble at the Hoxton New Music Days and the piece was broadcast
on Radio 3. He has recently completed Home for the virtuoso pianist
Ian Pace and future projects include a new orchestral work and a commission
for the Cheltenham Festival. He also writes about jazz and new music for
Jazz Review, International Piano Quarterly and The Wire.
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