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Mist Rising on the Red River

This work is heavily inspired by traditional Vietnamese folk music.  My friend, Mai Hong, introduced me to the music of this region, and I was captivated by its heavily ornamented and intricate nature.  It is at the same time intense and delicate, clear and ornate, fanciful and balanced.  Though my ears are trained in Western Classical music, I have tried to capture the essence of these qualities in this work.  The choice to adapt this work for the clarinet and bass clarinet came at the hands of the commissioners: my clarinet-playing friends and colleagues, Kelly Austermann and Emily McIvor.  Though these instruments are not traditional for Vietnamese music, I found the adaptation was not so far-fetched.  For one thing, both clarinets are extremely agile and capable of very fast and intricate technical work, which is necessary to replicate the heavy ornamentation of the style.  Other extended techniques that are used to imitate traditional string and wind instruments of Vietnamese folk music are pitch bends, quartertones, and timbre trills.
It is my hope that this piece will inspire listeners to seek true examples of Vietnamese folk music.  Until then, I hope they will accept my humble tribute to this brilliantly expressive musical genre.

Duration: 5 min.
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