snapshot of score of Music from the Heart of a Dog

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.

Score extract (PDF)


Performances / broadcasts / ‘real’ recordings

Listen to extract (1:31)