Johnson Sea-Change

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Composer: Johnson, Liz, 1964 -
   Country of origin: England
Title: Clarinet Quintet Sea-Change for multiple clarinets and string quartet
   Other titles:
Year(s) composed: 2016
Publisher: British Music Collection
Duration (in minutes): 28
Clarinet type: E - flat; D; B - flat; Bass (B - flat); Contra bass (B - flat)
Note: See comment below; images page 1 and page 11 of score

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  1. Clarinet quintet Sea-change (2016) for contrabass clarinet, bass clarinet, B flat clarinet, D clarinet, E flat clarinet and string quartet with voices, egg shakers, claves and Swanee whistles. Commissioned by Ronald Woodley, premiere performance by Ronald Woodley (clarinets) and the Fitzwilliam String Quartet May 20th, 2017 CBSO Centre, Birmingham, UK

    Programme Note
    When asked by Ronald Woodley to be ‘wild, extravagant, beautiful’ with five clarinets and string quartet, I did not know it would take six years to complete the piece. The music maps my own meditating mind, calm and centred at first, and then becoming distracted, occasionally returning ‘to the breath’ but mainly caught up in a series of fantasies and nightmares drawn from David Hart’s extended poem Crag Inspector. This book-length poem is set on the wild Welsh island of Bardsey, exploring the exterior world of the wild landscape and the interior world of the poet’s mind. The music spans 28 minutes in a single movement that divides into sections; the section titles relate to the poem and fragments of poetry are included in the score as follows:

    0:00-3:22 Meditative Calm [B flat, bass, D, Contrabass, E flat]
    3:23 By Candlelight [D clarinet]
    By candlelight I sing to be a poet through the night…
    6:34 Dai [bass]
    But here’s Dai now on the red tractor…
    7:38 Cantus [bass]
    I should have been sea…
    13:06 Morlo [B flat clarinet]
    Clear, long seal song…
    15:49 Dai 2 [contrabass]
    16:15 Smerkling Dragon [contrabass]
    The fog horn is the great god of the seals…
    20:53 Gwennol [E flat clarinet]
    A bird named Gwennol calls and speaks to me in a language of loops and shines…
    23:07 Dai 3 [bass and B flat]
    25:44 Oarweed
    A seal has risen with a steady eye
    (morlo = Welsh for seal, gwennol = Welsh for swallow)

    The members of the string quartet also have five instruments each, creating a multidimensional effect through the use of voices, claves, egg shakers and Swannee whistles at certain points during the piece.
    Source: Composer

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