compositions | band | twitch (2016)

Twitch (2016)

Medium: Solo B-flat Clarinet & Band
Publisher: C. Alan Publications (2016)
Composed: 2016
Duration: 6:05
Difficulty: Grade 3.5 ens / Grade 5+ solo


Flute 1 & 2
Solo B-flat Clarinet
B-flat Clarinet 1-3
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1 & 2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone

B-flat Trumpet 1 & 2
Horn in F 1 & 2
Trombone 1 & 2
T.C. Baritone

Timpani & Slapstick
Percussion 1 (Xylophone, Vibraphone)
Percussion 2 (Snare Drum, Ribbon Crasher, Bongos, Claves)
Percussion 3 (Hi-Hat, 4 Concert Toms, Wind Chimes, Suspended Cymbal, Temple Blocks)
Percussion 4 (Concert Bass Drum, Tam-Tam, Optional Multi-Bass Drum)

Twitch was commissioned by the Spring High School Wind Ensemble (Spring, Texas), directed by Gabe Musella, for performance at the 70th Annual Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic (Chicago, Illinois) with guest clarinet soloist Sasha Potiomkin of the Houston Symphony. Tasked with writing a piece for virtuosic solo clarinet, an occasional featured clarinet quartet, and band with active, grooving percussion parts presented a fun challenge. I approached the piece much like Baroque solo concerto with elements of the concerto grosso, alternating between the tutti ensemble and solo sections that don’t always have much to do with one another thematically. Sometimes the solo clarinet is accompanied by the full ensemble, but mostly it is joined by a clarinet quartet made of three B-flat soprano clarinets and one B-flat bass clarinet, resulting in a nice homogeneous ensemble (like a string quartet). The connecting thread for the piece ends up being the percussion section, who behave much like a percussion quintet, echoing rhythmic motives heard in both the full ensemble and the solo parts. The excitement from beginning to end is palpable. Even in the calmer sections, fast, syncopated motives are thrown around the percussion section to keep the drive alive.