Hulse Clarinet Quintet

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Composer: Hulse, Brian Clarence
   Country of origin: United States
Title: Clarinet Quintet
   Other titles:
   Movements: Adagio Intenso/Allegor Vigoroso; Adagietto, Molto Calmo: Presto
Year(s) composed: 1999
Publisher: Thesis (Ph. D.)--Harvard University, 1999. (see Note below)
Duration (in minutes): 20
Clarinet type: B-flat
Note: See comment below; score images pages 1 and 2

2 thoughts on “Hulse Clarinet Quintet

  1. Abstract

    As the titles of the movements suggest, the spirit of Clarinet Quintet is very much intended to evoke the classical tradition in a number of ways, First, from a purely syntactical point of view, the harmonies, rhythms, and gestures resemble properties found in the chamber music of Brahms, Beethoven, and others, though they never functioning in a tonic/dominant context. Second, the surface of the music is entirely derived from the working out of small motivic ideas which, though largely non-diatonic, interact with a rhetorical approach not unlike Beethoven or Haydn. Third, the formal procedure follows a hierarchical sense of phrasing, uses dialectical contrasts as the basis for formal structure within the movements, and applies quasi-traditional notions of climax and repose.

    One question that immediately arises is this: given the elimination of the underlying harmonic foundation upon which traditional tonal music rests, as well as the addition of pitch and rhythmic information incongruous with this tradition, what is the effect of this kind of composition? There can be no doubt that there is an effect of some kind, and that that effect involves the connection between this piece and past music on some level. But can it be said to achieve its musical goals, of does it merely depend on the success of past music to muster some superficial coherence of it’s own?

    It is a deeply held, deeply felt belief of this composer that the boundaries which are drawn between musical styles and eras can become much more flexible and possibly even cease to exist altogether in the subjective realm. The mind that assimilates both Bach and Urban Rap music, for instance, may discover that their coexistence defies the realities of time and space; that both musics can mingle and even play off one another in the imagination. The effort to realize the synthetic-transcendental abilities of the human mind by bringing new hybridized musical expressions (as being distinct form pastiche) into the concrete world is the what animates this composer. This piece is only one modest effort tin what is intended to be a lifelong journey in this direction.

    Brian Hulse

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