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Name of Work

Bermel, Derek (1967-)
Coming Together for cello, clarinet

Coming Together


May 06, 2007

Larry Combs, Clarinet
Sophie Shao, Cello

BERMEL-Coming Together

Composed in 1999

Derek Bermel comments on his Coming Together:

A high degree of virtuosity is required when performing Coming Together, for clarinet and cello. Coining Together is a quintessential Bermel work: humorous, gesture-based and demonstrating a keen ear for invoking the human voice. Commissioned by the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center and Merkin Hall for Bermel and Fred Sherry (recorded on New World Records NWCR895), this short duo consists entirely of glissandi. Says Bermel, "I wanted to write a piece without any 'straight' pitches, one which relied solely on gestural development, yet which would still be convincing and emotional."

Bermel achieves this by specifying exactly where each pitch starts and ends and where each glissando occurs in time this careful placement of tonal areas defines the structure and carries the piece forward.

As in Soul Garden or the Quartet, the playing field is defined in the first gesture of Coming Together: a low cello moan-uhhhh. The cello catches the clarinet's attention with bold pizzicati, the clarinet squawks in protest, the cellist petulantly drops his bow and lets it bounce on the strings (col legno battuto). At first distant in pitch and gesture, the two partners slowly converge, moving closer in range and rhythmic intensity. They seem to unconsciously mimic each other.

Intense stroking by the cello incites the clarinet to high shrieks.

The intimacy becomes disarming, even erotic.

By the end, the instruments have indeed come together - disparate lines have converged to a single point, and they groan in rhythmic unison. A husky-voiced clarinet produces a ripping multiphonic; different tones emerge from the combined growl of the two instruments. The tryst ends with another col legno battuto.

Program Notes by Mic Holwin

Performance date: May 6, 2007

Performance Audio