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De Profundis

[for clarinet and video]

composed 2006 for the Deborah Andrus: 9 minutes


De Profundis for clarinet and multimedia is the third in a cycle of pieces that I think of as  "songs without singing".  Language and music (which the human brain seems quite able to fully absorb and process simultaneously) have almost always been brought together via singing.    In this piece, as the Biblical "De Profundis" prayer is presented on the video, the melodies played by the clarinet faithfully match the syllables and implied rhythms of each line of text.  This "setting" is quite literal at first, and perhaps the melody could even be sung.  But as the piece progresses the connection between the clarinet phrases and the words of the prayer become increasingly abstract and musically expressive.