Music from the Heart of a Dog
for bass clarinet and pre-recorded sound — 1998
After The Europeans, my friend Eric Schneider put on another production at the Théâtre d’Esch, Luxembourg. This was Coeur de chien, his own adaptation, in French, of Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Heart of a Dog, which he directed in 1998. Once again, he asked me to provide the music but, unlike the pastichery I had created for The Europeans, Eric told me I could be ‘as weird as I liked’ and — better still — there was the budget for one musician, so it didn’t have to be entirely synthesized.
The bass clarinet has long been a favourite instrument of mine, and we found that Marcel Lallemang, head of woodwind at the Luxembourg Conservatoire, was available to play the part. The overall sound-world — a bass clarinet surrounded by multiple more-or-less distorted piano sounds — came to me in a dream. I realised it with material partially generated by Fractal Music. For advice about writing soloistically for the bass clarinet I made myself known to Andrew Sparling, who has since become a good friend.
The incidental music for the play consisted of various snippets, sound effects and scene changes, but Eric also suggested a more substantial piece for an entr’acte. In the event, this didn’t work particularly well in the theatre, and was dropped from the later performances, but it lives on in its own right as Music from the Heart of a Dog, which Andrew Sparling has recorded.
- bass clarinet
- music provided on CD
Performances / broadcasts / ‘real’ recordings
- Première: Théâtre d’Esch, Luxembourg, 1998 as part of theatre production by Eric Schneider of Coeur de chien: Marcel Lallemang (bass clarinet)
- Recording for Andrew Sparling, NMC Records (NMC D092): 3 Feb 2004, Holy Trinity Church, Weston, Herts, UK: Andrew Sparling (bass clarinet). Download this piece — or indeed the whole album — from the iTunes Store.
Listen to extract (1:31)
- Recording: Andrew Sparling, NMC Records (NMC D092)
- Bass clarinet: Andrew Sparling
- Pre-recorded music by the composer, a long time ago, the details partly lost to the mists of time, but I would have used my modified Roland D-50, a Yamaha TX81Z and possibly a Korg 03R/W (or it may have been before I bought that), recorded into Cubase on a Mac, with reverb from a Yamaha SPX-90; all mastered onto my faithful old Revox A77.
- For this recording, the pre-recorded material was played back in Holy Trinity Church, Weston, Herts with Andrew Sparling playing the solo part live alongside.
- Producer: David Lefeber, on 3 Feb 2004
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